Osteoporosis is a common condition where the bones become brittle. It is caused by a loss of minerals (such as calcium), resulting in compromised bone mineral density. As bones become weaker, they become more likely to fracture in the event of a fall.
The most common sites for fracture are the hip and the spine, both of which can result in long term consequences.
Osteoporosis affects up to 23% of women over 50 years of age
Risk factors include:
History of corticosteroid use
Medical history (cancer)
How Can Exercise Help?
Physical activity is fast becoming recognised as one of the most effective ways to optimise bone health.
Physical activity improves your muscular strength and balance to reduce risk of falls and consequently, your risk of developing a fracture. Greater muscle mass also protects your bones if you do fall.
Targeted exercises can slow the loss of and, in some instances, improve bone mineral density.
Exercise improves your general health and decreases the risk of developing other chronic conditions, such as heart disease.
Exercise improves independence and makes daily tasks a lot easier
Did You Know?
Walking and swimming aren’t enough
Exercise needs to be weight bearing (in a standing position) and have a higher impact (bounding/jumping activities – if and when it is safe), in combination with strength training to get benefits in bone density.
Exercise needs to be progressive
Once an exercise becomes too easy, we need to make it harder to continue to challenge the muscles and get a benefit from the activity. This goes for strengthening, impact and balance exercises.
Don’t expect changes overnight
Improvements in bone density occur with longer term adherence to an exercise program. Keep your goals in mind and remember that exercise has many other benefits to your lifestyle.
Know your risk
The location and severity of your osteoporosis can be associated with some risks if exercises are performed incorrectly. The advantage of being supervised by an Exercise Physiologist is correct exercise prescription to avoid risk of injury