Beat Osteoporosis With These Exercises

If you have been told you that you are at risk of osteoporosis, don't let that diagnosis slow you down. A family medicine physician can direct you to diet changes that will help and may prescribe physical therapy. You can also create an exercise plan that decreases your risk while increasing your bone and muscle strength.

Review these exercises with your doctor and keep the effects of osteoporosis from impacting your life:

Why Exercise Helps

The cause of osteoporosis is unknown but the effects of it are obvious. It slows down the creation of new bone tissue which results in your bones becoming weak. An x-ray of your bones will show that they are less dense and spongy. This makes them easier to fracture with only a minor bump or fall.

When pressure is placed on a bone, it stimulates the growth of new bone tissue. One way to regain the strength of your bones is to do exercises them by putting weight on them. Along with diet changes that you'll get from your orthopedist, you'll combat the weakening of your bone tissue.

Best Exercises for Osteoporosis

There are three categories of exercises that work well to fight the effects of osteoporosis:

  • Weight bearing - Exercises that put direct pressure on your bones stimulates new bone growth.
  • Muscle strengthening - These exercises put pressure against your bones through muscle tension.
  • Non-impact - Some exercises help increase muscle tone, and promote balance. This reduces your chance of a fall and a bone fracture.

Weight-Bearing Exercises

  • Walking - A brisk walk for several minutes every day helps bone growth and improves circulation. Don't walk so fast as to become winded. Increase your speed until you feel your pulse begin to rise to get the maximum effect.
  • Elliptical machines - These have the advantage over walking in that they put your knees through a wider range of motion. This strengthens all of the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your knees and increases bone growth in your hip, upper and lower leg bones. Start slowly and increase speed until your pulse begins to rise. A few minutes every day on the elliptical promotes your bone health.
  • Stair-step machines - These machines are helpful for getting a good cardiac workout as well as bone and muscle conditioning. Start very slowly on these machines and work your way up to the heart rate recommended by your doctor.

Muscle-Strengthening Exercises

  • Elastic exercise bands - A series of exercises using resistance bands will strengthen your arm, shoulder and back muscles. Pulling the bands to put tension on your muscles and holding them for a few seconds increases circulation and builds up muscle fibers. This helps to protect your bones in case of a fall.
  • Free weights - Lifting weights can access areas of your muscles that elastic bands can't. Have a physical therapist or weight trainer show you the correct use of the free weights so you don't injure yourself.
  • Weight machines - Weight machines often focus on specific muscle groups. Make sure to vary the machines you use to get a complete muscle workout.

Non-Impact Exercises

  • Tai Chi - This will increase muscle tone in your legs and improve your balance. The slow, steady rhythm of this exercise will help with everyday movements such as getting in and out of chairs or using stairs.
  • Yoga - This activity puts your muscles through many movements gently. Stretching the muscles this way increases circulation and muscle fibers.

Work with your doctor closely as you design an exercise program to fight your osteoporosis. You'll keep your muscles and bones in shape and keep yourself active so you can enjoy your life. To learn more, contact a company like Choice Medical Group with any questions you have.