Osteoporosis is a condition which mainly affects women after menopause, though it can also affect elderly men. It is characterized by decreasing bone density and its symptoms include fractures of the hips, wrists and other bones.
This bone thinning disease, which affects more than 50% of women who are older than 50 years, can be prevented and treated by doing weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises.
Weight Bearing Exercises for Osteoporosis
Weight bearing exercises involve activities that hold or move the body against gravity while the person is standing on their feet. Examples of high impact weight bearing exercises, which build strong bones and help maintain their density, include:
- Stair climbing
- Step aerobics
- Skiing and skating
- Playing lawn tennis and other racquet sports
Low impact weight bearing exercises are great for those who have either sustained osteoporosis related bone fractures or are at a high risk of doing so. Examples of such exercises include:
- Brisk walking
- Using elliptical training machines
- Using stair step machines
Muscle Strengthening Exercises for Osteoporosis
Muscle strengthening exercises, which are also known as resistance exercises, have been shown to increase the density of bones and reduce their risk of fracturing. These exercises which involve moving the body or a weight against gravity include:
- Weight training with free weights or machines
- Using elastic exercise bands or tubing
- Water exercises
Starting an Exercise Program
Persons who have been leading a sedentary lifestyle should always seek clearance from their doctor before embarking on a new training program. Though this is important for those who have diabetes, heart disease and similar conditions, it is also crucial for those who think they are healthy since they may also be suffering from some “silent killer diseases” like high blood pressure.
Once approval has been granted, these weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises should be done for at least 30 minutes four times a week. These sessions can be split up; for example into three spaced out 10 minutes workout periods.
Written by: Dr. Marian Kim, Freelance Medical Writer
About the Author
Dr. Marian Kim is a freelance medical writer who has written articles for numerous online publications.