Exercises for Osteoporosis: In Australia, around half of all women and one third of men over 60, have osteoporosis. Women are more susceptible because menopausal hormonal changes worsen bone loss.
Regular weight-bearing exercises throughout life are known to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. However, recent research suggests that people with existing osteoporosis can also benefit with weight bearing exercises using resistance. Of equal importance as weight bearing, "on the inside", are pelvic floor exercises. When the pelvic floor muscles are engaged properly, major core muscles also engage. It would be worth your while to visit our pages on the
Pelvic Floor Technique
- if you're not sure how to engage this vitally important muscle group.
There are a number of other pages on this website, that will be of help to you. Just ensure that you use the golden rules(see below) with NO FORWARD FLEXION:
A sedentary lifestyle increases the loss of bone mass but you find exercises for osteoporosis builds muscle strength and improves balance, reducing the likelihood of falling which is the cause of most fractures. Balance is extremely important. Go to our
page when you have finished here, for more information.
You'll find PICS of EXERCISES below, but first a WARNING! Five Golden Rules for Osteoporosis Exercises:
1. No flexion. Flexion is bending the spine forward at the hip and shoulder girdles– both in standing and sitting. This eliminates a plethora of exercises for osteoporosis, including sit-ups.
2. No excessive weight on your wrists if you have osteoporosis in that area.
3. No abduction(which means lifting your leg sideways).
4. Do not twist the spine, turning around sideways.
5. Do not sit or stand with poor posture.
Exercises for osteoporosis don regularly reduces the rate of bone loss, and the risk of osteoporosis fractures but it must be the CORRECT type of exercise. Pilates is all about resistance exercises. Perfect!
Benefits of osteoporosis exercises:
• Conservation bone tissue
• Improved muscle strength and fitness
• Increased mobility
• Better balance
• Reduced risk of falls and fractures
• Reduced pain.
• Improved reaction time
Deciding on an osteoporosis exercise program:
Before you begin an exercise regime, it is VERY important to consult your health practitioner. Several factors need to be considered including:
• Your age
• Location of osteoporosis
• The severity of osteoporosis
• Current medications
• Your fitness and ability
• Other medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis,
coeliac disease or liver disease.
Recommended exercises for osteoporosis:
• Resistance exercises such as PILATES
• Tai Chi
• Low impact aerobics
• Weight training
• Posture and balance exercises
• Swimming is NOT a weight-bearing exercise
Exercises to avoid:
• High impact aerobics
• Abdominal sit-ups
• Any exercise involving twisting, such
as a golf swing
• Any exercise requiring sudden jolts or force,
such as tennis or squash.
Consider your Fourfold Osteoporosis Action Plan:
for useful information
Medical: It is vitally important to consult with your health practitioner before you decide on an exercise program.
Diet: A dietician is invaluable to determine the best nutrition.
Posture: Awareness of your body and how you hold yourself is equally as important as exercise. Check our POSTURE page, but be mindful of limitations required with osteoporosis.
Exercises for Osteoporosis: Whatever you choose, it must be weight bearing exercise and remember, swimming is NOT weight bearing. Bones need to be “stressed”. We feel pilates is an excellent option.
At this point, it would be beneficial to go to
OSTEOPOROSIS RISK FACTORS
to consider to assess your lifestyle, and further equip yourself with the right advice.
This pic not only demonstrates poor posture, but show the spine in forward flexion. Any exercise that requires forward flexion is a no-no as you're putting yourself at risk of further fracture.
Try to hold your back in this position as frequently as possible. If you are doing mat exercises, your back must STAY on the floor. Don't try to lift head or shoulders. A big NO NO for people with osteoporosis.
TIP - Stand tall, take a deep breath, and draw you shoulder blades down to the floor. This would have to be one of the simplest, but most effective exercises for osteoporosis.
The pilates ring is an excellent resistance exercise device. This exercise works arms and shoulders, but there are many exercises with the ring, suitable for osteoporosis people.
A little bit of rubber called a "Theraband" is a favourite with pilates people. Again, its all about Resistance Exercise: Start with a little tension in the theraband, held straight out in front at chest level. Stretch the band out, with straight arms to the side. Go to
RESISTANCE BAND EXERCISES
for a full selection, being careful to apply the rules stated above. ie. NO FLEXION
Ball exercises are also beneficial. Here you see the back fully supported on the floor for this hip exercise. It's easy. Move the ball in a circle clockwise and then to anti-clockwise. Inhale one way and exhale the other. This and other ball exercises can be found here at
Balance Ball Exercises
Again, make certain to choose exercises that don't require you to flex forward at the hip or shoulder girdles.
Here below is a 2 minute VIDEO with a selection of lower back exercises, all suitable for those with osteoporosis.