Building and Maintaining Bone Density
Bone is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Just as a muscle gets stronger and bigger with use, a bone becomes stronger and denser when it is called upon to bear weight. Two types of exercise are important for building and maintaining bone density: weight-bearing and resistance. Weight-bearing exercises are those in which your bones and muscles work against gravity. Examples include walking, climbing stairs, dancing, and playing tennis. Resistance exercises are those that use muscular strength to improve muscle mass and strengthen bone. The best example of a resistance exercise is weight training, with either free weights or weight machines.
Reducing the Risk of Falling
You can significantly reduce your risk of falling by engaging in activities that enhance your balance, flexibility, and strength.
Balance is the ability to maintain your body’s stability while moving or standing still. You can improve your balance with activities such as tai chi and yoga.
Flexibility refers to the range of motion of a muscle or group of muscles. You can improve your flexibility through tai chi, swimming, yoga, and gentle stretching exercises.
Strength refers to your body’s ability to develop and maintain strong muscles. Lifting weights will increase your strength.
How Can I Exercise Safely if I have Osteoporosis
If you have osteoporosis, it is important for you to get plenty of exercises. However, you will need to choose your activities carefully. Be sure to avoid activities with a high risk of falling, such as skiing or skating; those that have too much impact, such as jogging and jumping rope; and those that cause you to twist or bend, such as golf.
Unfortunately, some people become so afraid of breaking another bone that they become more sedentary, which leads to further loss of bone and muscle. Rest assured, however, that by practising proper posture and learning the correct way to move, you can protect your bones while remaining physically active. Every activity can be adapted to meet your age, ability, lifestyle, and strength. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help you design a safe and effective exercise program.
In the meantime, here are some general guidelines for safe movement:
wear shoes with slippery soles
slouch when standing, walking, or sitting at a desk
move too quickly
engage in sports or activities that require twisting the spine or bending forward from the waist, such as conventional sit-ups, toe touches, or swinging a golf club.
pay attention to proper posture. This includes lifting your breastbone, keeping your head erect and eyes forward, keeping your shoulders back, lightly “pinching” your shoulder blades, and tightening your abdominal muscles and buttocks.
make sure to use a handrail when climbing stairs
bend from the hips and knees and never from the waist, especially when lifting.