What is osteoporosis?
Men and women hit peak bone mass between our mid-teens and mid-twenties and start to lose that mass in their early 30s. In people with osteoporosis, a progressive disease defined by low bone density and deteriorating bone mass, the bones become so porous and weak they’re susceptible to fractures, often in the hip, spine, wrist and shoulder. Two million Canadians are affected by osteoporosis and every one in three women will develop an osteoporotic fracture in her lifetime.
Some doctors prescribe medication to slow bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures, but often osteoporosis patients also get a prescription for exercise.
Can I Exercises with Osteoporosis?
Get the all-clear from your doctor before starting any exercise plan and then get professional guidance.
Our practitioners will do an assessment based on your medical history and look for muscle imbalances, tightness and weakness, and then design a program specifically to target those issues.
Generally, people with osteoporosis should avoid high impact workouts, such as jumping and running – weakened bones can fracture under pressure. And watch out for bending and twisting, such as in certain yoga poses or golf. For people with osteoporosis, those movements can cause compression fractures in the spine.
What exercises are best to combat osteoporosis?
Building strength through resistance training, increasing flexibility and improving balance are priorities. That can be done with dumbbells and, if the client is strong enough, loading the spine by carrying a backpack with weights during walks or treadmill sessions. The Mayo Clinic produced a series of short videos showing how to exercise your upper back safely with common gym equipment.
Discomfort with exercise is to be expected, so it is important to understand your pain. If it feels like a sharp pain, such as someone sticking a knife in you, that’s a bad pain and you should stop, but if your muscle is burning, you should continue to work through that; that’s where you get your strength.
Starting an exercise regimen can be daunting, especially for those new to working out. However, while people with osteoporosis have to be careful, they also have to challenge themselves. If you stick with a plan, and make exercise a regular part of your life you will see improvement over time.
Information gathered from YourFinishLineAthleticTherapy.ca