We have talked a lot about diet so far, so what else can you do to maintain healthy bones? Well, according to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can guard against low bone density.
Everyone can exercise, even those who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, however if you have the condition then you must speak to your GP or osteopath before embarking on any activity, as there are several factors that need to be taken into account…
1. Fracture risk. Will you break a bone if you attempt high impact exercise? (such as brisk walking, running, dancing, tennis etc.)
2. Fitness level. How mobile are you? You would need to adapt your exercise regime accordingly.
3. Muscle strength. Your ability to balance Is important. How likely are you to fall whilst exercising? This is especially important to work on as we age, especially if you have weak bones. So exercises such as Pilates, yoga and Tai Chi are ideal for strength, balance and joint flexibility.
4. Bone density. If you do have osteoporosis, then it would be wise to have some personalised training developed for your specific needs.
So what exercise can you do to maintain bone health?
Weight-bearing exercises such as climbing stairs, walking, jogging, skiing and other sports are good for building up the bone density in your lower body, while strength training with machines or free weights impact the bones of your upper body and spine.
A combination of high impact and low impact exercises is essential for full-body bone health and is a good way to naturally build bone density. Muscle strength training or resistance exercises are equally important.
In the past we have spoken about sarcopenia (loss of muscle tissue as we age) – strong muscles are especially important in slowing down bone density loss, which is why resistance exercise is vital to maintaining healthy bone density. These exercises include weight machines, free weights, exercise bands and isometric movements such as the plank, side plank and warrior pose in yoga.
Resistance exercise is safe for improving muscle mass and strength in our later years, including the frail and elderly and even those with prior history of fracture.
That said, you will require a personalised, instructed program if you have osteoporosis, or any other health issues.
As humans, we are living much longer lives, which is great if you live all of those years fit and healthy. So why don’t you join us at Not Just Backs Daily Exercises? It’s a closed Facebook group where our principal osteopath, Rhian, runs a daily exercise routine focussing on muscle strength that you can follow!
We hope to see you there – in the meantime, do give us a bell on 01722 512 043 if you’d like to book an appointment with one of our expert osteopaths on designing a weight-bearing exercise program based on your age and fitness level.