Discover the best osteoporosis exercises that you can do to strengthen your bones.
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones of more than 2 million Canadians and increases their likelihood of fractures. In this post, we will answer questions like what is osteoporosis? What are osteoporosis symptoms and what are the risk factors? We will also cover which exercises you should consider if you have osteoporosis or want to reduce your risk of getting this disease.
Let's get started.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that deteriorates bone tissue, leading to low bone mass and an increased risk of fracture. This disease is known as the "silent thief" as some people go undiagnosed, even after having a fracture.
Osteoporosis is a fairly common disease. In fact, Osteoporosis Canada says that at least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime. This means that the average Canadian is more likely to fracture a bone due to osteoporosis than they are to have a heart attack, stroke or breast cancer combined.
Now that we know what osteoporosis is, let's go over some of the symptoms.
Osteoporosis is a tricky disease to diagnose as typically there aren't any symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. As this disease progresses watch out for these common symptoms:
- Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
- Loss of height over time
- A stooped posture
- A bone that breaks much more easily than expected
As you can see, it can be difficult to tell if you have osteoporosis without actually testing for it.
Osteoporosis Risk Factors
When it comes to osteoporosis risk factors, age plays a major role. It is recommended that all men and women over the age of 65 are tested for osteoporosis. Some other major risk factors include:
- Low body weight, i.e. less than 132 lbs or 60 kg
- High-risk medication use (steroid use, aromatase inhibitors, androgen deprivation therapy)
- Smoking and high alcohol intake
- Early menopause
If you want to know more about your risk, you can take this quiz.
3 Osteoporosis Exercises for Healthy Bones
Exercise is one of the key components to help slow bone loss and increase bone strength. It is never too late to start exercising. However, the sooner you start and continue to exercise throughout your life, the healthier your bones will be.
Keep in mind that there isn't just one exercise you should do to combat or prevent osteoporosis. You should always look to have a combination of balance, weight-bearing and strength exercises to get the most benefit.
Let's take a closer look at each category.
1. Balance Exercises
Balance exercises will help reduce your chance of falling and getting a fracture. This is especially important as you get older and your balance deteriorates. In addition to this, your risk of osteoporosis goes up. Here are some balance exercises you should consider:
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that focuses on balance and callisthenics through very slow and controlled movements.
Balance Board Exercises
Balance boards are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that you can use to improve your balance. When using a balance board, start near a wall so you can use it to steady yourself.
Here are some exercises to try:
- Balance Board Squat - While on a balance board, perform a slow and controlled quat. This is a more advanced exercise, so make sure you are comfortable doing a regular squat first.
- Squat Hold - While on a balance board, lower into the squat position and hold that position for 30 seconds and then release.
- Balance Board Lunge - With your back foot on the balance board, perform a lunge while keeping the board steady.
If you are new to balance exercises or have poor balance, start by holding a sturdy object like a wall or railing.
2. Weight Bearing Exercises
Weight-bearing exercises are impact-producing activities such as stair climbing, skipping rope, jogging and walking.
If you are just starting and need assistance with walking, consider using hiking poles to help maintain your balance on your walks. In addition to this, if you have weak joints, you might need a support or brace to help.
If these activities are new to you, start slow with the easier activities like walking and work your way to the other exercises once you are comfortable.
3. Strength Exercises
Strength training helps increase muscle and bone strength in your arms, spine and legs.
Here are a few products that will help you increase your strength:
Resistance Bars - Resistance bars can help increase your arm, hand and shoulder strength.
Resistance Bands - Resistance bands are a versatile tool you can use to increase arm and leg strength. You can use them while performing squats, curls, bent-over rows and more.
To sum it up, osteoporosis weakens your bones over time and can lead to fractures. Exercising consistently is one of the easiest ways to help strengthen your muscles. However, you need to be doing the right exercises. A combination of strength, impact, and balance exercises are going to help build muscle and bone strength.
Equipment is important, which is why we're proud to provide a variety of osteoporosis fitness and support products to help you live a healthy life.
Finally, we hope you enjoyed this post and learned about some of the best exercises for osteoporosis.
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