Exercise For Osteoporosis
It’s World Osteoporosis Day this month (on October 20th) so let’s look at the benefits of exercise for bone health and osteoporosis.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that causes a person’s bones to become weak and brittle, making them susceptible to fracture from minor falls or injuries. While your bones naturally become weaker as you age, osteoporosis can speed this process up.
You may be at higher risk if you are over 70 years old, female, experienced early menopause, or have a family history of hip fractures. Lifestyle factors that increase your risk include being sedentary, not doing weight-bearing or resistance training, having a low body weight and low muscle mass, eating a diet poor in nutrients, or having a high alcohol intake.
Benefits of exercise for osteoporosis
Exercise is beneficial if you have osteoporosis, because it can slow the rate of bone loss, strengthen your muscles, improve your balance to reduce your risk of falls, increase mobility, improve your mood and help to manage pain.
Regular physical activity throughout your life reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis in your later years. Regular activity combined with a healthy balanced diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, which puts less pressure on your bones and joints.
What type of exercise for osteoporosis?
There are three types of exercise you should incorporate into your routine: weight-bearing exercise, resistance training, and exercises to improve your balance.
Weight-bearing exercise is defined as aerobic activity conducted when you are on your feet with your bones supporting your weight, working against gravity. Examples of weight-bearing exercises:
- High impact: Jogging, jump rope/skipping, step aerobics, tennis, high knees, jump squats
- Moderate impact: stair climbing, hiking, dancing
- Low impact: stair step machines, low-impact aerobics
Resistance training makes your muscles work against a weight or force to build strength. These should be tailored to your ability and capacity with proper form to avoid injury. Examples of resistance training:
- Free weights (dumbbell and barbells)
- Resistance bands
- Body-weight resistance
- Weight training machines
Exercises to improve your balance and prevent falls:
- Tai Chi
- Standing on one leg
- Standing with your feet close together
- Walking backwards
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it’s important to exercise within your ability and seek supervision from a trained professional to ensure your exercise routine is safe for you and to reduce the risk of fractures.
Our Physiotherapist is an expert in movement and exercise. Book an appointment today to see how it can benefit your body and osteoporosis.
If you need help managing your symptoms and would like to find out how physio pilates could help, come and see us. Give us a call on (416) 546-4887 or email us at [email protected] to make an appointment.
- Healthy Bones Australia (2021). Exercise & Bone Health [Online]. Available at: https://healthybonesaustralia.org.au/your-bone-health/exercise-bone-health/ (Accessed 29 August 2022).
- Better Health Channel (2015). Osteoporosis and exercise. [Online]. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/osteoporosis-and-exercise (Accessed 29 August 2022).
- Health Direct (2020). [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/osteoporosis (Accessed 29 August 2022).