Exercises you can do in your home that could help Osteoporosis

By Kenny Kline

One osteoporotic fracture happens every three seconds worldwide, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. What’s alarming is that the risk of a broken hip during later years. Women are more susceptible to developing osteoporosis primarily because estrogen—a hormone that protects females’ bones—drastically decreases as they reach menopause.

Men can get osteoporosis too. Studies have shown that one out of five men 50 years or or more suffers from osteoporotic fractures.

Some think osteoporosis is an inevitable part of aging. However, you’re never too young nor old to take good care of your bones. With the help of today’s technology, there are many mediums to prevent, detect, and treat osteoporosis.

Let’s start with the easiest one—exercising! Here are five medically recommended routine to prevent osteoporosis. Plus, you can do them anywhere, anytime, at your convenience.

High and Low Impact Weight-bearing Exercises

Weight-bearing is a typical therapy recommended by almost every orthopedist. It refers to how much percentage of body weight an injured body part can take. Weight-bearing treatment is categorized in different levels as follows:

  1. Full Weight Bearing (FWB) also referred to as weight bear as tolerated (WBAT).
  2. Partial Weight Bearing or PWB. Specifically, it uses 30% to 50% of body weight.
  3. Touch Weight Bearing or TWB. Feet can touch the floor, but the injured body part takes no weight. It generally requires assistance from a therapist, walker, or crutches.
  4. Non-Weight Bearing or NWB. The patients in this category are paraplegic or paralyzed from the waist down or can’t entirely move an injured part. Hence, there’s a need for a wheelchair and other assistive devices.

Weight-bearing activities are classified into two, namely high-impact and low-impact. Despite the differences, both can be done at home.

High-impact weight-bearing exercises give higher chances of breaking a bone, but still can improve bone density and support cardiovascular health. Before anything else, consult your doctor (or physical therapist) before doing high-impact exercises.

Examples of high -impact exercises you can do anywhere:

  • Climbing stairs or brisk walking
  • Dancing or step aerobics
  • Playing sports like tennis or other racquet sports
  • Doing house chores like any yard work, such as gardening or pushing a lawnmower

Some feel that low-impact, weight-bearing exercises can still improve bone density. Unlike high-impact activities, the following exercises often require equipment:

  • Stair-step machines
  • Elliptical training machines
  • Walking on treadmill machines (or walking outside)

According to Chantal Donnelly, the creator of  Body Insight and a physical therapist by profession, a weight-bearing workout can build skeletal strength and can stimulate bone-cell activities. Meaning, the more you stress your body, the stronger your bones will become. As a result, possible injuries will be prevented in the future.

Muscle-Strengthening/Resistance Exercises

Muscle-strengthening exercises are another medically known medical treatment that can build and maintain bone density, apart from weight-bearing treatment. Beatrice Edwards, MD, MPH explained that weight training aids to keep up your balance and coordination, which both decrease because there’s only 50% to 55% of muscle mass left as we age.

Dr. Felicia Cosman, the spokeswoman for the National Osteoporosis Foundation, says that if you do weight training on a regular basis, consider 1% as the least possible change in your bone density every year. Despite the number, if you think of the 10% difference after ten years, that would be a great improvement already.

According to Harvard Health,  any activities that put stress on bones, such as weight training exercises, can activate bone-forming cells into action. Like weight-bearing exercises, the muscle-strengthening workout would also develop stronger, denser bones, offsetting the age-related decline in bone mass.

Here are some examples of weight training exercises to prevent or treat osteoporosis:

  • Lifting free weights
  • Working with resistance bands
  • Lifting your body weight

Muscle-strengthening exercises target bones that are most likely to fracture, such as hips, spine, and wrists. This difference made strength training superior to weight-training workouts. A combination of the two is a great idea as long as you’ve already sought advice and permissions from your doctor.

gym equipmentOne trend nowadays is to utilize all-in-one exercise machines like Gold’s Gym XRS 50. In general, this piece of home gym equipment (shown left) allows you to perform different exercises using one machine– and doing it at home.

Balance and Flexibility Exercises

Yoga, Pilates, and other balance and flexibility training can promote good posture and spinal mechanics. These exercises can reduce back pain, which is a common symptom of osteoporosis. Plus, these activities can also strengthen your muscles and bones.

Cleveland Clinic physical therapist Maribeth Gibbon, warns that most of these routines are flexion-based or involving forward-bending moves. These movements can increase the risk of breaking a bone in the spine. Specifically, flexed movements caused most spine fractures.

There’s no need to avoid balance and flexibility exercises, though. You can perform yoga or Pilates, but to the point of stretch, not pain. It’s even advised to stretch once or twice a day to avoid muscle stiffness, which also results in possible injuries. For safe training and better results, consult a physical therapist or licensed yoga or Pilates instructor.

Exercising to prevent osteoporosis should increase your bone density and decrease the chances of injuries. Even with a fracture or osteoporosis, everyone can execute a safe and effective personally customized exercise routine.

Always ask for professional help before trying any exercises or equipment on your own.

See also “Is There Any Way to Improve Bone Density” by Terry Endo Smith: CLICK HERE

Editor’s note: STLSportsPage.com does not endorse any exercise, exercise equipment, or way of maintaining your health. This article is done as a service for our Beyond Sports Page.


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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.