How will exercise help my Bone health?
Osteoporosis is known as the “silent disease” as it is often only revealed after a fracture has occurred. Therefore it is vital to maintain bone density and strength as you get older to reduce this fracture risk and the development of Osteoporosis.
Exercise has the ability to modify the shape and size of your bones through a variety of means, keeping them strong and dense well into your older years. For people with bone health issues such as Osteoporosis and Osteopenia, exercise can help to maintain current levels and significantly slow the decline of bone density.
What type of exercise should I do?
If your bone density levels are currently good, and you want to maintain or even slightly improve this as you age, impact exercises such as hopping, jumping and running provide the most effective benefits. It is important to consult an Accredited Exercise Physiologist if you want to try this as these exercises can be dangerous and pose an injury risk if not performed properly.
For people with Osteoporosis or Osteopenia, resistance exercises are vitally important in maintaining bone health. When you strengthen a muscle, the bone it is attached to also adapts and strengthens to support the increased muscle size. In addition, weight-bearing resistance exercises such as squats and lunges are even more effective as the weight from your body places slight stress on the bones, helping them to maintain their density and strength.
Balance exercises are also extremely important to reduce the possibility of falls, as the risk of fractures is extremely high. Balance exercises challenge proprioception and coordination through a variety of techniques.
Is there anything I should be wary of?
As mentioned above, the risk of falling needs to be minimized as much as possible in people with Osteoporosis. Fractures can take weeks, months and even years to heal so it is important to be supervised when exercising, especially for specific balance exercises.
There are certain movements of the body, in particular the spine, which should be avoided in people with Osteoporosis in that area. Depending on the level of your bone health, high impact activities such as jumping, running and hopping may also need to be avoided. Your Accredited Exercise Physiologist, with assistance from your GP, will be able to tailor appropriate exercises that will not place your bones at any risk.