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!
Real men get osteoporosis, too.
As many as 2 million American men already have osteoporosis, the bone thinning that makes bones brittle and porous and at likely to fracture. Twelve million men are at risk, and may have early signs of bone loss and low bone density, called osteopenia. But given that four times as many women have osteoporosis, men are less likely to end up with thin bones than women.
Why this lower risk?
"Women live longer, so they're more likely to get osteoporosis," says Paul...
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.
Maybe you've always thought golf was for old folks -- people who could no
longer do "real" sports. Think again. Shouldering that golf bag around
18 holes, and swinging the big clubs to drive the ball long, adds up to a lot
of upper-body work. And all that walking, and chasing balls lost in the rough,
means plenty of work for your hips and spine. Golf gives "weight-bearing
exercise" a whole new name.
OK, maybe you've got two left feet, or you were never the star in ballet.
But we're not talking point shoes here; we're talking the hottest trends in
salsa, samba, Lindy hop, rhumba, East coast swing, foxtrot, and tango. Use
those hips to get your heart pumping in more ways than one, and build strong
bones while you're at it.