Staying active can strengthen bones and preserve mobility.
If you have osteoporosis or have already fractured a bone, you may be avoiding exercise for fear of breaking another one. The best thing you can do right now is to stay active.
Having already suffered a fracture, you are at greater risk of suffering another, so it is very important to take all measures to prevent it. To prevent falls, you need to increase bone density, which is why exercise is so important.
An exercise for osteoporosis should include four components:
- Weight-bearing exercises are good for strengthening your bones because they force you to work against gravity. Examples include walking, climbing stairs, playing tennis, and dancing. Higher-impact activities strengthen bone more than lower-impact exercises but only do what your fitness level allows.
- Muscle-strengthening exercises involve the use of weights or your own body’s resistance to work against gravity. Examples include lifting free weights, using a weight machine, working with resistance bands, and lifting your body weight. Do these types of exercises at least twice a week.
- Balance exercises improve your ability to hold yourself upright and help prevent falls. Examples yoga. Perform balance exercises at least twice a week.
- Flexibility exercises keep your muscles limber and joints mobile. They include yoga and stretching. Try to stretch for at least five to 10 minutes after every workout. Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.
When you’re just starting, it can help to work with a professional trainer or guidance from your doctor for proper exercises, so you don’t injure yourself.
Always start slowly, with light weights and a few repetitions, and build up from there. Don’t worry if you can do only two or three biceps curls or leg lifts at first. Add one more repetition per week, until you can eventually do a full set of eight to 12 reps.
Be gentle and mindful of your condition. If you’ve already broken bones in the spine, avoid activities in which you bend forward, reach down, twist, or lift heavy weights.
These exercises strengthen the muscles needed to keep you uprightand improve balance. Aim for eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise.
Hip extension: While holding onto the back of a chair for balance, slowly raise your right leg straight out behind you. Lift it as high as you can without bending your knee. Lower the leg. Repeat with the left leg.
Bridge: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands next to your hips with your palms down on the floor. Keeping your back straight, lift your buttocks as high as you can off the mat. Pause. Lower back down slowly.
Chair stand: Position the chair against a wall. Sit in the chair with your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms and put your hands on your shoulders. Keeping your back and shoulders straight, stand up slowly, using your legs rather than your hands. Slowly sit back down.