Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to brittle and fragile bones due to the body losing too much bone, making less of it, or even both in some cases. This condition can be easily managed, but when left undetected and untreated, it can cause fractures from a mild fall or even a bump in severe cases. Medication and lifestyle treatments for osteoporosis help manage the condition effectively.
Incorporating simple changes in dietary habits, like adding foods beneficial for bone health and eliminating the ones harmful to it, can go a long way in managing the condition. While it is important to be extra careful to prevent falls, it is also important to keep exercising.
Additionally, a very thin and lean frame is not ideal for bone health, and neither is being overweight. One must try to achieve and maintain a healthy weight for optimal bone health. Sometimes, the surgeries performed to aid weight loss also contribute to issues with the bones, so this should be discussed with a doctor.
When the bones lose more tissue than they replace, it leads to osteoporosis. This process or reformation of bone tissue is called bone remodeling, and exercise helps stimulate it. This also has other beneficial effects on a person’s health and sense of wellbeing. Since an individual with osteoporosis is more prone to fractures, they must consult a health care expert or a doctor before starting an exercise plan. Based on the following parameters, a professional will be able to guide them to an exercise regimen that is the best suited lifestyle treatment for osteoporosis for them:
- The level of physical activity required
- Current fitness level
- Muscle strength
- Flexibility and range of motion
- Other health issues
Exercise options and tips
- Walking is a simple yet effective exercise. When choosing this option, one should wear appropriate footwear and choose a walking route that has no obstructions. Walking on a treadmill might be more risk-free for some people.
- Weight-bearing exercises are an especially good lifestyle treatment for osteoporosis. If one has a low risk of fractures, high-impact exercises like dancing, stair climbing, brisk walking, jump rope, heavier yard work, aerobics, jogging, hiking, and racquet sports are advised. If one’s fracture risk is high, low-impact exercises like walking, stair-step exercises, and elliptical machines are better suited for them.
- When the bones are very fragile, exercises that might result in undue stress should be avoided. This includes any exercises that require bending or twisting of the spine as it multiplies the risk of fractures in the area. If one has already had an osteoporosis-related fracture, they must be extremely careful to not overstrain or make the wrong movements while exercising.
- If one has not exercised previously, it is best to start small and ramp up the exercise level gradually. When the muscles are strengthened, it improves one’s stability and provides better support for their body. Improved coordination and flexibility help one move better and reduces the risk of falls.