What are the best ways to exercise and improve your bone health when you
have osteoporosis? Try weight-bearing workouts that stress bones and muscles
more than your everyday life, says Paul Mystkowski, MD, an endocrinologist at
Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle and clinical faculty member of the
University of Washington in Seattle. Talk to your doctor and make sure the
workout you choose is safe for you. Then give these latest trends a try!
For years, we've thought we understood osteoporosis: it's a disease in
which the bones become more and more fragile as they lose density, usually due
to aging, menopause, and other factors like lack of calcium and
vitamin D in the diet.
But today, advances in research are shedding new light on osteoporosis,
which is predicted to affect as many as half of all Americans over age 50 by
the year 2020. From diagnosis to prevention to osteoporosis treatment, new research is turning our old
Tai chi -- a form of slow, graceful moves -- builds both coordination and
strong bones. A study reported in Physician and Sportsmedicine found
that tai chi could slow bone loss in postmenopausal women. The women, who did
45 minutes of tai chi a day, five days a week for a year, enjoyed a rate of
bone loss up to three-and-a-half times slower than the non-tai-chi group. Their
bone health gains showed up on bone mineral density tests.
A study reported in Yoga Journal found an increase in bone mineral
density in the spine for women who did yoga regularly. From the slow, precise
Iyengar style to the athletic, vigorous ashtanga, yoga can build bone health in
your hips, spine, and wrists -- the bones most vulnerable to fracture.
Standing poses like Warrior I and II work the large bones of the hips and
legs, while poses like Downward Dog work the wrists, arms, and shoulders. Both
the Cobra and Locust poses, which work the back muscles, may preserve the
health of the spine. Yoga also sharpens your balance, coordination,
concentration, and body awareness -- and thus helps prevent falls.
3. Brisk Walking
One fitness trend that never goes away, walking is still hugely popular
among women -- and a great way to revamp your bone health. A study of nurses
found that walking four hours a week gave them a 41% lower risk of hip
fractures, compared to walking less than an hour a week. Brisk walking is best,
but you can adapt your speed to your current fitness level. Walking is free,
and you can do it anywhere, anytime, even when you're traveling.