How Exercise Helps Brittle
Exercise is powerful medicine for people with osteoporosis. It helps reduce bone loss
and builds stronger muscles to support you. The result is that you're less likely to have
a fall or fracture. But not just any workout will do. If you're able, you should do both
muscle strengthening and weight-bearing exercises.
Why Weight-Bearing Exercise?
Weight-bearing exercise simply means your feet and legs are supporting you. As the
force of gravity puts stress on your bones, they respond by building more cells. These
exercises include any activities you do while standing. If you have severe osteoporosis
or have already had a fracture, some activities may be risky. So before taking on any
new exercise, talk to your doctor to make sure it's right for you.
Build Muscle With Weights
Lifting weights or using resistance equipment at the gym will build bone and
muscle mass at the same time. Aim to work each major muscle group twice a
week with at least 1 day of rest in between. If you're new to lifting weights, check
with your doctor first, and work with a trainer to learn proper form.
Dance Your Way to Healthier Bones
Dancing is a well-rounded workout. It gets your pulse up and keeps you on your feet,
strengthening your heart, muscles, and bones. Because you need to remember
various steps and sequences, dancing is also a workout for the brain.
If you're able to walk at a quick pace -- even for short periods -- your bones will reap
the benefits. Three short walks a day are as good as one long one. Brisk walking is
also good for your heart health. If you're concerned about sidewalk cracks or other
tripping hazards, a treadmill is a good alternative.
Join an Aerobics Class
High-impact classes will strengthen bones that are stable enough to handle the
force. Low-impact aerobics are a safer choice for people with more severe
osteoporosis. And no-impact classes, such as water aerobics, may be the best
choice for those who have already had a fracture
What About Swimming?
Swimming builds muscle and gives your heart and lungs an excellent workout. But -because the water is holding you up -- it doesn't strengthen the bones. Swimming is a
good option when severe osteoporosis or arthritis makes weight-bearing exercise too
Get Flexible With Yoga
Don't be fooled by the gentle nature of yoga. Besides improving posture and flexibility,
it strengthens bones. Some yoga poses, particularly forward-bends, may not be
suitable for people with osteoporosis. Ask your doctor or physical therapist if there are
positions you should skip.
Improve Your Balance
Good balance is crucial when you have osteoporosis -- being steady on your
feet will lower the risk of falls and breaks. Tai chi is one way to strengthen
your legs and enhance your poise. A physical therapist can show you other
exercises to improve balance.
How Often Should You Exercise?
To boost bone health, do weight-bearing activities like walking or dancing at least 4
days a week. Aim for 30 minutes if you're able -- you can divide the time up into
chunks of 10 or 15 minutes. At least twice a week, add in exercises that build
muscle. And don't forget to stretch regularly.
Get Into the Routine
You can also do your bones a favour by making small changes to your everyday
routine. Whenever possible, walk instead of drive, choose the farthest parking spot at
the mall, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you have any questions about
what activities are safe for you, check with your doctor.
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