Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and loss of bone tissue that may lead to weak and fragile bones. It has been a major health concern especially for women. If you have osteoporosis, you have an increased risk for fractured bones, particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist.
Maintaining activity through one's lifetime is an essential step in maintaining healthy bones and reducing the risk of fractures. Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence can be the best defense against developing osteoporosis later.
Lifestyle modification should also be incorporated into your treatment. Regular exercise can reduce the likelihood of bone fractures associated with osteoporosis.
Equally important for older adults in terms of osteoporosis is the effect of exercise on the risk of falling. When individuals with osteoporosis fall, they typically break bones, and in fact, sometimes the bones are so brittle that they break before the person hits the ground; for example, just stepping off a raised pavement/footpath could break a brittle bone in the hip, and then the individual falls as a result. People fall for many reasons, including poor balance, poor vision, decreased strength and range of motion. Exercise can't help every factor, but studies show that exercises such as balance training, leg strengthening, and flexibility training can reduce the risk of falling in older adults.
There are four steps to prevent osteoporosis. No one step alone is enough to prevent osteoporosis.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
- Engage in weight-bearing exercise.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol intake.
- Take medication to improve bone density when appropriate.
The following exercises are best to prevent osteoporosis
- Weight-bearing exercises that cause force on the bones like jogging, stair climbing, and walking briskly
- Resistance exercises that involve the bones you are concerned about
- Balance exercises if you are an older adult
Research is clear that you need some force-loading or weight-bearing on bones to have any effect on density and strength, but caution should be taken with exercise when you have osteoporosis. You should avoid some movements and exercises
- Exercises that might increase the risk of falling
- Movements like twisting of the spine and bending from the waist
- High-impact activities like high-intensity aerobics or jumping
- Excessive weight during resistance exercise
- Adducting and abducting legs against resistance.
- Moving legs sideways across the body
- Pulling of the neck with the hands behind the head.
Before beginning any exercise program, make sure to review your plan with your physician because many of the exercises that are included in preventing osteoporosis are excluded in the workout plan of a person who has osteoporosis because of the dangers involved in causing injury.