Exercising Tips When You Have Osteoporosis

Exercising Tips When You Have Osteoporosis

You’ve received a diagnosis of osteoporosis. That means your bone mass and bone density are lower than normal. Your bones have become porous, so they’re weak, and you’re at increased risk of a fracture. You still want to exercise, but does osteoporosis limit your options? 

At Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Collierville, Tennessee, we offer the only access in Tennessee to National Osteoporosis Foundation ambassador Jennifer Childers, PA-C. She provides comprehensive osteoporosis and bone care for our practice. 

Medication and exercise are two basic building blocks of osteoporosis care. Depending on your medical history, your osteoporosis specialist prescribes specific medications designed to strengthen your bones and slow bone loss. 

Why exercise is important if you have osteoporosis

You may have thought that your bones never change, but that’s not the case. Bone is living tissue. If you live a sedentary life, your bones weaken. Bones need the stimulation of weight-bearing activity to remain strong. 

After your mid-30s, you start losing bone mass every year. Exercise helps prevent bone loss, reducing your risk of a fracture. Exercising also helps you maintain your balance so you don’t fall and break a bone. It’s as simple as that. 

Of course, there are many other benefits to regular exercise; it improves your overall health and lowers your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. 

What kinds of exercise are best if I have osteoporosis?

Our osteoporosis specialist reviews your medical history and gathers all relevant information before recommending types of exercises. Your bone density measurement and your fitness level help determine what’s included in the exercise program that your osteoporosis specialist designs for you. Following are types of exercise that build bone

Weight-bearing aerobic exercise 

Weight-bearing aerobic exercises help build bone and keep you strong. If you’ve been sedentary, walking in your neighborhood is a great start to improving your fitness level. If you join a gym, using an elliptical machine or joining a low-impact aerobics class are excellent choices. 

If you’re able to engage in moderate-impact exercises, dancing, hiking, or simply climbing stairs are good choices. All of these exercises reduce the rate of mineral loss in your spine, hips, and legs. 

Resistance/strength training 

Strength training is an important component of an osteoporosis exercise program. You use exercise bands, free weights, or your body to strengthen your muscles. The exercises help you maintain bone density. 

How do you improve your strength by using your body? Squats, even small ones, help strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings, and the gluteus muscle, as well as aiding your balance. 

Lifting yourself and standing on your toes while holding onto a chair strengthens ankle and calf muscles in addition to improving balance. 

Proper form is essential when doing resistance training; otherwise, you don’t get the full benefit, and you could hurt yourself. If you’ve never exercised with weights or a band before, it’s important to have at least one session with a qualified trainer who is aware of your health issues and fitness level. 

Exercise pitfalls 

Following are types of exercise to avoid if you have osteoporosis.

High-impact exercises 

If you’re generally fit despite osteoporosis, your doctor might give you the green light to doubles tennis versus singles. However, engaging in competitive basketball or singles tennis could lead to broken bones. They’re high-impact exercises that include a lot of jumping, sudden moves, and running. 

Avoid fast, jerky movements. Use slower, deliberate moves when lifting weights, for example. 

Bending and twisting

If you have moderate to severe osteoporosis, you should try to avoid sports and exercise that involve bending at the waist and twisting. Singles tennis, golf, bowling, and specific yoga activities are examples. You’re more at risk of spinal compression fractures. 

Call Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, or book an appointment online today for the most advanced care of osteoporosis available today.

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