Osteoporosis is a condition that thins and weakens the bones. While you may think it’s dangerous to workout when you have osteoporosis, exercise is actually essential to keep your body healthy. While there are certain types of exercise you should avoid if you have osteoporosis, there are also workouts that will strengthen your body, relieve pain and keep you as healthy as possible. Check out 7 of the best osteoporosis exercises for bone health and weight loss.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. They become weak to the point where they break easily, especially the bones in the hip, spine and waist. A fall or even minor movement such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture when you have osteoporosis. Just like other tissues in your body, your bone changes over time and your body removes it and replaces it with new bone. If you start removing old bone quicker than your body can replace it, osteoporosis can occur.
5 Signs of Osteoporosis
There are typically little to no symptoms of osteoporosis, but you should watch out for the following signs:
1. Loss of height over time (getting shorter by an inch or more)
2. Back pain, especially in the lower back
3. Change in posture (stooped)
4. Bone fractures and bones that break much more easily than expected
5. Shortness of breath (caused by compressed discs created smaller lung capacity)
What Causes Osteoporosis?
Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and your bone mass increases. This process slows down after the early twenties and as you age, bone mass is lost faster than it’s created.
Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men and having a family history of osteoporosis makes you more likely to get it. People who have smaller body frames are also at a higher risk for osteoporosis as they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
Some medical conditions and medications may also increase your risk of osteoporosis. These include overactive thyroid, bariatric (weight loss) surgery, organ transplant, celiac disease, kidney or liver disease and blood diseases such as multiple myeloma.
Lifestyle and eating habits can also lead to a higher risk. You’re more likely to develop osteoporosis if your body isn’t getting enough calcium or vitamin D. Tobacco and alcohol use can also increase your risk, as can leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Osteoporosis and Exercise: 3 Things You Need to Know
1. Exercise is Important
Exercising is super important if you have osteoporosis since building your muscles helps protect your bones. Certain exercises can improve your balance, which can help prevent falls, while others can improve your posture and help relieve pain. It’s important to find the safest, most enjoyable activities for you given your degree of osteoporosis.
2. Avoid High Impact Exercises
Steer away from activities like jumping, running and jogging as these can lead to fractures in weakened bones. Avoid jerky, rapid movements and instead, choose exercises with slow, controlled movements.
3 .Steer Clear of Bending and Twisting
Exercises where you have to bend and twist at the waist should be avoided as they can increase your risk of compression fractures in your spine if you have osteoporosis. These exercises and activities include sit-ups, golf, tennis, bowling and some yoga poses.
7 Best Osteoporosis Exercises
1. Strength Training
Strength training, also known as resistance training, uses free weights, resistance bands or your own body weight to strengthen major muscle groups. It can help maintain bone density and strengthen spinal muscles important for posture. Working with a personal trainer can help you tailor strength training to your ability and tolerance. Proper form and technique are essential for preventing injury.
2. Flexibility Exercises
Exercises that promote flexibility are excellent if you have osteoporosis. Moving your joints through their full range of motion keeps your muscles working well. Stretches work best once your body is warmed up, so be sure to stretch after your workout routine or after a 5 to 10 minute warm up for best results. Avoid stretches that have your bending at the waist, twisting or flexing your spine.
3. Stability and Balance Exercises
Stability and balance exercises help you maintain stability and make it less likely for a fall to occur. Tai chi and yoga are great for improving stability and balance, as are simple exercises such as standing on one leg or walking while you alternate knee lifts with each step. Note that when doing yoga, certain positions may not be safe for those with osteoporosis. A physical therapist can help you learn which exercises are safe for you.
4. Weight-Bearing Aerobic Activities
Weight-bearing aerobic exercises include walking, dancing, hiking, low impact aerobics, elliptical training machines, and stair climbing. These types of exercises work directly on the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine to slow mineral loss. They’re also great for your cardiovascular system.
5. Osteoporosis Exercises Beginners Core Strengthening Workout via Michelle Kenway
Led by physical therapist Michelle Kenway, this tutorial takes you through exercises that safely strengthen your core and spine. Core exercises are crucial if you have osteoporosis. They support and stabilize the spine, help you with your upright posture and help with your pelvic floor. You won’t need any equipment for this routine – just a workout mat.
6. Osteoporosis Exercises – A Routine for Stronger Bones via Jessica Valant Pilates
This routine is excellent for anyone who has been diagnosed with osteoporosis. She demonstrates safe exercises for you to do and also educates you on exercises to avoid and why. The exercises in this tutorial will help you strengthen your bones and muscles to make you stronger and help prevent your condition worsening. All you need is a pair of light dumbbells and you’re ready to get started!
7. Exercises for Osteoporosis – Safe Abdominal and Spine Strengthening for Osteoporosis via Carol Michaels Fitness
This exercise routine will help you strengthen the muscles around your spine and core. You’ll do a series of exercises using resistance flat bands to help you feel healthier and stronger. Note that some of the exercises may need to be modified for your unique health issues.
If you have osteoporosis, we hope these exercises help you get stronger and feel healthier all around!
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