Exercise Can Prevent or Lessen the Effects of Osteoporosis
As we age, our bones become less dense, and if that density reaches a critically low level, osteoporosis could be the result. Individuals who reach a severe level of bone density loss may be at risk for problems such as fractures or chronic joint pain.
While avoiding pain and injury is a necessary part of dealing with this chronic disease, experts recommend that potential osteoporosis sufferers increase their level of activity to strengthen their bones and decrease the risk of falling. Even adding light exercise on a weekly basis can help them avoid or alleviate the pain of osteoporosis-related injuries.
Benefits of exercise
One old adage claims an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is very true for osteoporosis.
Bone density begins to decrease for most people, particularly women, when they reach their 30s and 40s. People who engage in regular strength training and weight-bearing exercise are more likely to maintain healthy bone density as they age, but those measures don’t have to be extreme.
A simple strength and flexibility routine should suffice to keep bones strong. With improvements in strength comes an improvement in balance and a decrease in the likelihood of dangerous falls. Many people who exercise regularly also experience an improvement in posture, which will help increase their chances of avoiding back pain, an issue that osteoporosis can exacerbate.
Before you rush headlong into a new program, though, check with your doctor to be sure you are healthy enough for regular exercise. It’s important to start slowly to avoid injury in the beginning stages, especially if your condition is severe.
Once you have been cleared for activity, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. Many physical therapists and personal trainers specialize in complications from osteoporosis, and such an experienced professional can help you accomplish two results: a higher level of health and a boost in self-confidence.
How to exercise with osteoporosis
It’s important to include weight-bearing and strength exercises in your new program. This doesn’t actually mean lifting heavy weights, or necessarily even lifting weights at all. You can get adequate strength training through simple bodyweight exercises such as walking or resistance-band exercises. If you place a healthy amount of stress on your muscles and bones, your body will respond by improving your strength and bone density.
You should also include flexibility, balance and core-strengthening exercises in your routine. Something as simple as implementing a yoga or stretching routine can improve the feeling of stiffness in your muscles and joints. Improving core strength and stability can also help prevent falls and fractures. Not only that, but you may find you have more energy and a better sense of confidence in yourself.
If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it’s never too late to start exercising to avoid pain and injury. Even a slight increase in activity can have a positive impact on your prognosis.