What osteoporosis exercises are suggested?
Exercise is very important for slowing the progression of osteoporosis. Since bone is a live tissue, it responds to the environment just as the other live tissues do. When the normal stresses placed upon bones by normal physical activity are removed, bone will loose density. This is best illustrated in patients with spinal cord injuries who can have a very significant loss of bone density. Exercises specifically targeted to strengthen the back help prevent fractures later on in life and can be
beneficial in improving posture and reducing kyphosis (hunchback), even in people with existing severe conditions. The positive effect that exercise has on bone density (BMD) (and therefore the risk of osteoporosis) is greatest in adults who have been sedentary and begin to exercise. A very active individual, on the other hand, will typically see less of a positive effect on BMD if they begin to exercise aggressively. Weight bearing exercises such as walking, running, jogging, and dancing have been the exercises that doctors have recommended for many years.
It has become clear that those activities which include higher impact have a greater benefit to the bones. Therefore, although swimming is a great exercise for cardiovascular fitness, walking or jogging will usually provide better bone health. For older individuals, a regular program of brisk walking may assist in bone maintenance. Weight lifting may also be helpful even though it is not a high impact exercise, with some of the benefit likely coming from increased leg strength which may help prevent falls and the hip fractures with frequently accompany them.
Children should begin exercising before adolescence, since bone mass increases during puberty and reaches its peak between ages 20 and 30. In fact, one study suggests that exercise may help develop bone mass in teenagers more effectively than high calcium intake. Exercises involving high-intensity jumping may be particularly bone strengthening in young children. (Such regimes should not be confused with the athlete-triad -- intense competitive exercise, eating disorders, and menstrual irregularities -- that cause osteoporosis in young athletes.) Weight-bearing exercises--where bones and muscles work against gravity--are best. These include aerobics, dancing, jogging, stair climbing, tennis, walking, and lifting weights. People who have osteoporosis may want to attempt gentle exercise, such as walking, rather than jogging or fast-paced aerobics, which increase the chance of falling. Try to exercise three to four times per week for 20–30 minutes each time.
Weight-bearing exercise applies tension to muscle and bone and, in young people, encourages the body to compensate for the added stress by increasing bone density by as much as 2% to 8% a year. In premenopausal women these exercises are very protective. (Young men need high-intensity exercises to increase bone mass.) Careful weight training is also very beneficial for elderly people, especially women. A recently designed successful program for older women employs weighted vests instead of traditional weights. In a 2001 study, after more than five years women on the program lost less than 1% of hip bone mass compared to 3.8% in women not on the program.
Regular brisk long walks improve bone density and mobility and may even relieve osteoarthritic pain. Most older individuals should avoid high-impact aerobic exercises, such as step aerobics, which increase the risk for osteoporotic fractures. Older people, particularly women who engage in jumping exercises should do so under supervision. In general, they should jump about 4 to 5 inches into the air and land flat-footed. Although low-impact aerobic exercises such as swimming and bicycling do not increase bone density, they are excellent for cardiovascular fitness and should be part of a regular regimen.
Exercise has a wide variety of beneficial health effects. However, exercise does not bring about substantial increases in bone density. The benefit of exercise for osteoporosis has mostly to do with decreasing the risk of falls, probably because balance is improved or muscle strength is increased. Research has not yet determined what type of exercise is best for osteoporosis or for how long. Until research has answered these questions, most doctors recommend weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, preferably daily.
A word of caution about exercise: it is important to avoid exercises that can injure already weakened bones. In patients over 40 and those with heart disease , obesity, diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure , exercise should be prescribed and monitored by their doctors. Finally, extreme levels of exercise (such as marathon running) may not be healthy for the bones. Marathon running in young women that leads to weight loss and loss of menstrual periods can actually cause osteoporosis.
More information on osteoporosis
What is osteoporosis? - Osteoporosis is a thinning and weakening of the bones, usually associated with the aging process. Osteoporosis is a disease, often with no detectable symptoms.
Building and maintaining skeletal health - Factors involved in building and maintaining skeletal health are adequate nutrition and body weight, exposure to sex hormones at puberty, and physical activity.
What types of osteoporosis are there? - Osteoporosis can be classified in various ways based on diagnostic categories, etiology. Osteoporosis can be classified as either primary osteoporosis or secondary osteoporosis.
What causes osteoporosis? - Osteoporosis is related to the loss of bone mass that occurs as part of the natural process of aging. Osteoporosis results when there is excess bone loss without adequate replacement.
What are the risk factors for osteoporosis? - Many disorders are associated with increased risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is far more prevalent in women after menopause due to the loss of the hormone estrogen.
What're the risk factors for primary osteoporosis? - Risk factors for primary osteoporosis include age, gender, race, figure type, lifestyle, diet, and lack of sunlight.
What're the risk factors for secondary osteoporosis? - Risk factors for secondary osteoporosis include genetic disorders, hypogonadal states, endocrine disorders,hematologic disorders, nutritional deficiencies, drugs.
What are the consequences of osteoporosis? - Consequences due to osteoporosis are increased risk of fracture with minor trauma, frequency of traumatic events from lifting and bending impact.
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis? - Patients with uncomplicated osteoporosis may be asymptomatic or may have pain in the bones or muscles, particularly of the back. Osteoporosis becomes apparent in dramatic fashion.
How is osteoporosis diagnosed? - The diagnosis of osteoporosis is usually made by your doctor using a combination of a complete medical history and physical examination.
What're the treatments for osteoporosis? - Treatment for osteoporosis includes eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, getting regular exercise, and taking medication to reduce bone loss and increase bone thickness.
What osteoporosis medications (drugs) are available? - Medications (drugs) to cure osteoporosis include bisphosphanates (Fosamax), calcitonin (Miacalcin), raloxifene, estrogen, and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).
How to treat osteoporosis in men? - Alendronate and teriparatide have been approved to treat osteoporosis in men. Calcitonin may work in men, treatment with testosterone appears to increase bone density.
How to treat osteoporosis in women? - The non-hormonal bisphosphonate drugs, alendronate and risedronate prevent and treat postmenopausal osteoporosis. Raloxifene is approved for preventing and treating osteoporosis.
What lifestyle changes can help osteoporosis? - Alcohol consumption should also be kept within safe limits. Supplements of calcium plus vitamin D may help maintain bone density. Limiting sodium and avoiding junk food.
What osteoporosis exercises are suggested? - Exercise is very important for slowing the progression of osteoporosis. Taking regular exercise is the single most important action improve the strength of their bones.
What osteoporosis diet is suggested? - A good calcium intake is essential throughout life for healthy bones. Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium from the intestines. Reducing salt may be useful for osteoporosis patients.
What can be done to prevent osteoporosis? - For prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, patients should be encouraged to stop smoking, limit alcohol consumption and perform weight-bearing exercise.
Osteoporosis and calcium - Calcium could alter the physical-chemical properties of the bone mineral. The daily recommended dietary calcium intake varies by age, sex, and menopausal status.
Osteoporosis and magnesium - Magnesium supplementation is as important as calcium supplementation in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis and vitamin D - Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract and is the essential companion to calcium in maintaining strong bones to prevent osteoporosis.