Winning the fight against Osteoporosis is quite a challenge so it’s important that you are aware of preclusions such as diet, medicines and exercises to prevent Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a Greek word which means “porous bones.” This medical condition technically weakens the bones, the result of which can make the person susceptible to higher risks of fracture. So it is important that you build and maintain your bone mass through exercising to prevent Osteoporosis.
Women achieve their maximum bone mass in their early 20’s. The more bone mass you accumulated before that age, the more likely you are to have healthy, strong bones later in life. Yet studies show that by the age of 16, only 11% of girls are involved in regular physical activity. Studies also show that active mothers and fathers are more likely to have active children.
Exercise and Osteoporosis Prevention
Osteoporosis doesn’t only affect older people, although they are more susceptible to it. But technically, any person, young or old, can have Osteoporosis. And this condition still has no known cure so it is wise to consider prevention more than pray for a medical cure to come out in the near future.
Recent studies have shown that there is a direct link between exercise and Osteoporosis prevention. You don’t just increase endurance and build muscle, you are also able to develop bone strength, balance and resistance. When you keep an active lifestyle, you prevent your bone mass from deteriorating and weakening, thus it is ideal to do exercise for preventing and treating Osteoporosis.
The following types of exercises to prevent Osteoporosis are in order to fight off this silent disease:
Load bearing or weight bearing
Each type of exercise has a specific role in the prevention of osteoporosis and should work hand-in-hand and not choose only one type of exercise.
Load bearing or weight bearing exercises
When you say load or weight bearing exercises to prevent Osteoporosis, this would mean muscle pulling so that your bones are more dense and stronger. Weight bearing exercise refers to exercises, which are performed in the standing position and involves loads (forces) being placed through the feet, which are transmitted up the leg bones and spine.
Some examples of this type of exercise include weight lifting, stair-climbing, hiking, jogging, step aerobics, racquet sports such as tennis or badminton, and even dancing.
While bicycling seems strenuous and is said to be beneficial to improve the functions of the lungs and the heart, this is not a weight bearing exercise to consider. Simply walking for about five miles can actually help improve your bone health, however studies to evaluate the effects of weight bearing exercise such as walking have not shown as drastic an improvement in bone mass unless this activity is performed as a high intensity activity (eg walking at a fast pace, jogging etc)
High impact exercises
Generally refers to weight bearing exercise which involves more load placed through the leg bones and spine during landing after lifting ones own body weight off the ground. Examples of this form of exercise includes running, skipping, jumping, team sports (eg netball) and high impact aerobics.
When you spend a good 30 minutes three times a week doing load bearing exercises for Osteoporosis prevention, your whole bodily functions benefit from it, not just your bones. It also promotes coordination, flexibility, and balance. Plus, your body benefits from these by being able to retain more calcium in the bones used to carry or bear the load and likewise stimulate the formation of the bones.
Another type of exercise to prevent Osteoporosis is by doing flexibility exercise. Stretching, yoga, tai-chi, pilates, and the like are examples of exercises for flexibility as these help promote balance while helping you prevent injury in the process. Flexibility exercises prevent Osteoporosis by making your bones adapt to stretching and normal body strain. If your body cannot perform full motion ranges with your bones and joints, chances are you will be more prone to muscle injury and loss of balance.
These exercises are also known as strength training exercises. Strength training uses weights of some kind for example machines, dumbbells, ankle or wrist weights, to create resistance which helps build muscle mass and places a load (force) on the involved limb bones. It also includes exercises, which use one’s own body weight as the load (eg. push-ups, whereby the load is placed through the arms and shoulders).
Just like with weight bearing exercises, exercises to induce flexibility is also in order when doing exercises to prevent Osteoporosis. This type of exercise also improves muscle and bone structure and helps reduce fracture risks. When using resistance exercises to help prevent Osteoporosis, you work opposite another object’s weight.
Using weight machines in your local gym or free weights at home are already allowing you to do resistance exercises. There is also available resistance tubing which has different strengths.
Water exercises are also examples of resistance exercises because when you move inside the water, your muscles work harder because of the tension and resistance.
Few inportant tips to remember when doing resistance exercises to prevent Osteoporosis:
Ideally strength-training programs should be performed regularly, 2-3 times per week.
Strength training is most beneficial when a small number of repetitions 8-12 are used.
As strength improves, it is best to increase the weight used in the exercise rather than the repetitions.
Challenge yourself by adding weight or resistance to your regular routine to have a whole body workout. However, you also have to make sure that you rest your muscles after doing a good number of resistance training exercises and give it time to recover from the stress. Muscle pains can be apparent during the first few workout sessions but your body will eventually cope with it and will allow you to enjoy and prevent Osteoporosis.
Keep Exercising Safe
Exercising to prevent Osteoporosis should always be safe to make your Osteoporosis prevention program effective.
The safest way to start an exercise program is to consult with a doctor. It is ideal if you get tested on bone density measurement as well. He or she will know what type of exercises to prevent Osteoporosis would suit you to start and then you can slowly increase repetitions or the variety of workout programs you can do.
Always start with warm up exercises and end with a cool down session to avoid muscle strain and pain.
Monotony in doing exercises to prevent Osteoporosis will not be effective. It is best if you combine the different types of exercise programs and keep your workout program exciting.
Tag a friend along to keep your momentum going. It’s always best to have a support system to keep you on track with exercising to prevent Osteoporosis.
Too much of anything is detrimental. Even exercise. Remember to rest after every workout and don’t do it everyday if it will interfere with your life.
Exercises with maximal effects on bone health
There is evidence to suggest that both high impact loading and resistance type (strength training) exercise probably provides the most benefit for improving bone mineral density. However, there are no studies evaluating whether these exercises actually reduce the incidence of fractures.
Exercises with minimal effects on bone health
Bike riding and swimming where there is minimal load placed on bone has minimal effect in improving bone mass. However, these forms of exercise are beneficial in terms of improving cardiovascular health and muscle strength.
With the proper execution of exercises to prevent Osteoporosis, you’re sure to be on the right track in thwarting this incurable disease and keep the 206 bones in your body strong and healthy