Osteoporosis: What types of exercise should you do?

Image: Osteoporosis: What types of exercise should you do?

November is Osteoporosis Awareness Month.

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become thin and porous, decreasing bone strength and leading to increased risk of breaking a bone (Osteoporosis Canada).

If you have osteoporosis, different forms of exercise are needed to increase muscle strength, improve balance and posture, or maintain bone mass. According to Osteoporosis Canada, your exercise routine should include exercises in each of the following areas:

Strength training

Strength training refers to exercise where free weights (e.g., dumbbells), weight machines or exercise bands are used to make the bones and muscles work by lifting, pushing or pulling a “load.”

Strength training is a type of exercise with the goal of improving muscular strength. It involves performing movements against resistance; it is sometimes referred to as resistance training. Exercise bands, weights, machines or even your own body weight can be used for resistance. Strength training may increase spine and hip bone mineral density.

Posture training

Posture training involves paying attention to how the parts of our body are aligned with each other. The alignment of the vertebrae of the spine can become a concern among individuals with osteoporosis. Some kyphosis, or curvature of the upper back, is normal, but fractures or weak back extensor muscles can cause the spine to curve more than usual, resulting in an exaggerated kyphosis or excessively curved upper back.

Poor alignment, especially during activities that involve bending and twisting, can cause increased loads on the spine and result in fractures. Attention to alignment during activity and at rest, along with exercises targeting the back extensor muscles, can improve the alignment of the spine.

Balance training

Balance training exercises are those that challenge your balance. Examples include:

  • Reducing your base of support (e.g., standing on one leg instead of two, walking on your toes or your heels),
  • Walking in an unusual pattern (e.g., heel to toe walking in a line, figure eights),
  • Shifting weight to the limits of support (e.g., moving your weight more to one foot than another).

Join us in celebrating Osteoporosis Awareness Month by motivating yourself and encouraging those around you to stay active and increase bone strength. Do you have any exercise tips? Share with us on Twitter @Spectrum_HC!