Osteoporosis is a growing concern in the U.S. as it affects an increasingly large number of people. 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and 34 million more suffer from low bone density – a condition that puts them at serious risk for developing the disease. Osteoporosis is responsible for over 1.5 million fractures every year, and that number is only growing, so it’s time to do something about it.
Fortunately, there’s an effective way to take control of osteoporosis if you’ve already been diagnosed: exercise. Getting the right kind of exercise can also help prevent osteoporosis if you have low bone density or are otherwise at risk for developing the disease (genetic predisposition, for example). Doing osteoporosis exercises that specifically target problem areas can reduce your risk of spinal injuries and broken bones. A good exercise regimen can also help you stay mobile longer, enabling you to remain independent long after retirement.
The Mayo Clinic recommends the following types of exercise for osteoporosis, so talk to your doctor about incorporating them into your daily fitness routine. You might even consult a physical therapist to help you exercise well and enjoy the many benefits of strong, healthy bones.
By doing these kinds of exercises, you’ll build strength in the muscles and bones of your arms and upper spine, slowing mineral loss to keep your bones from losing any of their density. Avoid compression fractures in your spine by gently stretching your upper back with free weights, weight machines, water exercises, or a resistance band. By strengthening the muscles between your shoulder blades, you’ll be able to improve your posture and reduce any stress that might be putting undue pressure on your spine.
Weight-Bearing Aerobic Exercise
This type of exercise gets you on your feet, supporting your weight and thereby strengthening your bones. To achieve this effect, you can try walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics classes, elliptical trainers, stair climbing, and gardening. By doing these exercises, you can slow mineral loss in the bones of your hips, legs, and lower spine while boosting heart and circulatory system health.
Improve your range of motion with flexibility exercises. They can help you stay more mobile for a longer period of time, preventing some of the most frustrating effects of osteoporosis. You can maintain good balance, prevent muscle injury, and improve your posture by increasing your flexibility. Simply start stretching gently and slowly right after you exercise, avoiding stretches that require you to bend at the waist. This will help you get the most benefits from this type of movement. Your doctor can tell you which types of stretches would be best for you based on your bone density and other physical conditions.
Stability & Balance Exercises
These are some of the simplest but most important osteoporosis exercises you can do to prevent it from affecting your life. Stability and balance exercises can keep you from falling, which is the leading cause of osteoporosis-related fractures and other bone injuries. Keep your muscles working together to balance your entire body with exercises that promote overall stability. Try standing on one leg in a place where you can easily support yourself without falling if you start to lose your balance. Tai chi and yoga are also great ways to build stability and practice good balance.