Exercises for Osteoporosis
If you have osteoporosis, one of the most important osteoporosis fitness tips is to get regular weight bearing, resistance and flexibility exercise. We know exercise is important for our circulation and our muscles, but why are these such vital osteoporosis fitness tips? It has to do with bone density and bone mass. You may have heard your doctor mention these terms. Following osteoporosis fitness tips and exercises contributes to and helps maintain the amount of bone material in your body and its thickness. This is referred to as bone “mass and density.”
Three basic types of osteoporosis fitness tips and exercises are recommended for osteoporosis. All three types are required to help build and maintain healthy bones.
- Flexibility exercises for osteoporosis
- Resistance exercises for osteoporosis
- Weight-bearing exercises for osteoporosis
The flexibility of the joints is vital for people who have osteoporosis. Being flexible counts as one of the osteoporosis fitness tips because it helps to prevent injury and pain. There are easy ways to improve flexibility including:
- Regular stretching routines
These forms of exercise are also very relaxing and are excellent ways to relieve muscle tension when you practice them as a regular part of your osteoporosis fitness tips routine.
Resistance Exercises for Osteoporosis
Resistance exercises count towards helping to build bone and they also strengthen muscles. Research has shown that applying this essential osteoporosis fitness tip decreases the risk of fractures and increases bone density. These exercises are performed by working against the resistance offered by another object. Some examples of resistance exercise include:
- Weightlifting: using weight machines or working with free weights
- Elastic bands: these come in different weights, offering varying amounts of resistance
- Water exercise: any activity done in water provides resistance and forces your muscles to work harder
In order to achieve the best results when doing resistance exercises, keep the following osteoporosis fitness tips in mind:
- Resistance exercises should be done 2 or 3 times each week
- Gradually make your routine more challenging by adding more weight or increasing the number of repetitions
- Be sure to work all the different groups of muscles. This includes your back, abdomen, leg, shoulder, chest and arm muscles.
- Each muscle group needs at least one day to recover. Do not perform resistance exercises on the same muscle group on 2 consecutive days.
Weight-bearing Exercises for Osteoporosis
Your legs and feet support the weight of your body during weight-bearing exercise. Examples of weight-bearing activities for osteoporosis include:
- Stair climbing
For overall health, most health experts usually recommend moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times weekly as one of the best osteoporosis fitness tips. Swimming and riding a bicycle are great for your lungs and heart, but they are don’t provide the weight-bearing component that’s needed for osteoporosis. During these activities, your legs and feet are not supporting your body weight, so biking and swimming are not included in the osteoporosis fitness tips.
If you already have a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis, you may be worried about exercising and the possibility of fractures. Maybe you have not been active for awhile and are concerned about muscle strains or other injuries. There are ways to stay safe while exercising. Remember the following osteoporosis fitness tips to help ensure your safety:
- Be sure to ask your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program. This is one of the essential osteoporosis fitness tips to follow, especially if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia.
- Do your best to avoid high-impact activities such as jumping, jogging and running. These might cause weakened bones to break. Choose low-impact weight-bearing exercises like dancing, walking or low-impact aerobics, this is an especially important osteoporosis fitness tip if you know you have bone loss.
- If you have bone loss, avoid twisting and bending, especially twisting and bending from your waist because this increases your risk of fractures. Activities that involve this kind of twisting and bending include using a rowing machine, doing toe touches and sit-ups. Some forms of yoga, bowling, golf, and tennis also can include potentially harmful twisting motions. Before choosing these activities, a vitally important osteoporosis fitness tip is to speak with your doctor.
Examples of Exercises for Osteoporosis
The osteoporosis fitness tips and exercises below help promote balance and flexibility, strength and movement as well as good posture. They are especially helpful for people who have osteoporosis. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine if you have low bone density, have a diagnosis of osteoporosis, osteopenia or have had a recent fracture (broken bone). Avoid osteoporosis fitness tips and activities that require twisting or bending from the waist.
Some muscle soreness is to be expected when you first begin exercising, but if soreness persists for more than two days, notify your doctor. None of the osteoporosis fitness tips or exercises should cause pain while you are performing them. Never try to “work through the pain.” The osteoporosis fitness tips and exercises that follow are designed to complement weight-being exercises, not replace them.
Some of the osteoporosis fitness tips and exercises are to be completed lying on the floor. For comfort, it’s best to lie on a carpeted floor or on a mat or thick blanket. You may do the exercises on a firm bed if you have problems getting up and down from the floor.
There are four sections of osteoporosis fitness tips and exercises:
- Posture: This helps improve spinal alignment and decrease rounding of the shoulders. They can help reduce the risk of spinal fractures
- Strengthening: These help improve muscle strength in the hips and back
- Balance: This helps improve your balance, strengthen the muscles in your legs and decrease your risk of falls
- Functional: These help improve movement and the performance of the tasks of daily life
The benefit of this exercise is that it helps to decrease rounding of the shoulders, it reduces curvature in the upper back and it stretches the shoulder muscles.
Starting position: Starting position for this osteoporosis fitness tip exercise is standing up straight in the corner of a room, facing the corner. Arms are extended straight out toward the walls at the level of the shoulders.
- Take one step forward with your left foot, bending your left knee
- Lean on your left leg, bringing your chest and your head forward toward the corner
- Hold this position of tension for a count of 20
- Return to the starting position and relax
- Repeat one time
- Repeat the osteoporosis fitness tip exercise twice with your right leg
This osteoporosis fitness tip exercise should be done three times weekly.
Hip abductor strengthening exercise
The benefit of this osteoporosis fitness tips exercise is that it improves balance and strengthens the muscles in the hips. If you can, place a weight around the ankle that makes it difficult for you to complete more than 10 repetitions.
Starting position: Starting position for this osteoporosis fitness tips exercise is standing up straight, holding onto the back of a chair with your left hand for support. Be careful not to bend from the waist or at the knees.
- Place your right hand at the top of your pelvis
- Lift your right leg straight out to the side, pointing your toes forward
- Make sure your pelvis and hand don’t raise up
- Lower your leg
- Repeat the osteoporosis fitness tips exercise 10 times
- Change your position to repeat the exercise with your left leg, holding onto the chair with your right hand.
This osteoporosis fitness tips exercise should be completed 3 times weekly.
Prone leg lifts exercise
The benefit of this osteoporosis fitness tips exercise is that it stretches the muscles in the front part of the thighs, the hip flexors, and strengthens the buttocks and low back.If you can, place a weight around the ankle that makes it difficult for you to complete more than 10 repetitions.
Starting position: The starting position for this osteoporosis fitness tips exercise is lying face down on a small folded towel or small pillow under your forehead and under your abdomen for comfort. Your arms are at your sides.
- Bend your left leg slightly at the knee and lift your left thigh off the floor, keeping your foot relaxed
- Return to the starting position and relax
- Repeat these osteoporosis fitness tips exercise 10 times
- Repeat 10 times with your right leg
This osteoporosis fitness tips exercise should be completed 3 times weekly. If this exercise causes pain in your lower back, add a larger pillow under your abdomen.
Balancing Exercise Example
If you have a history of falls or if you have issues with your balance, these osteoporosis fitness tips exercises are especially vital. They can help improve your balance which will reduce your chances of falling and breaking a bone. They are simple to do and require little time and effort.
When you do osteoporosis fitness tips exercises that challenge your balance, it’s normal to feel a little unsteady on your feet and legs, but you should not feel as if you could fall. Your goal with these exercises is to be able to maintain the position for about 30 seconds and then, when you are stable without wobbling, move on to the next level.
It’s a good idea when first starting these osteoporosis fitness tips exercise to hold onto a chair that doesn’t move, a table, or a counter with both of your hands. As your balance improves, try steadying yourself with only one hand. Eventually, hold your hand’s inches above the chair or table, or use just your fingertips to help steady yourself.
Toe and heel raise exercises
The benefit of this osteoporosis fitness tips exercise is to improve balance and to strengthen the muscles of the lower legs.
- Raise up onto your tiptoes, imagining you are trying to brush the ceiling with the top of your head
- Lower your body back down onto your heels
- Repeat 10 times
Try to hold onto your support as little as possible. This osteoporosis fitness tips exercise should be completed once daily.
Wall slide exercises
The benefits of these osteoporosis fitness tips exercises are that they improve your leg alignment, help to lessen head-forward posture and rounding of your shoulders and upper back, and strengthen the muscles in your back, abdomen, and thighs.
Starting position: The starting position for this osteoporosis fitness tips exercise is standing straight up, about one foot away from a wall, facing out into the room. Feet are flat on the floor and about shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your feet pointed straight ahead
- Place the palms of your hands, your shoulders and your buttocks against the wall
- Pull in your abdominal muscles and tuck in your chin, placing the back of your head as close to the wall as you can
- Bending your knees slightly, slide down the wall into a half-squatting position. Remember to keep your abdominal muscles tensed and flat, and your shoulders and back flat against the wall in this osteoporosis fitness tips exercise.
- Slide back up the wall, keeping your abdomen, shoulders, and back flat.
- Repeat the exercise 10 times.
- This osteoporosis fitness tips exercise should be completed three times weekly.