Exercising for Bone Health – What type of exercise and how much should you be doing?
Exercise is important for bone health and osteoporosis – whatever your age or wellness and whether you have broken bones in the past or not. Being physically active and exercising will help you in so many ways and is very unlikely to cause you a fracture. The main thing is to remember is that the worst thing you can do is nothing.
After a diagnosis of osteoporosis or if you have risk factors, you should do more exercise rather than less. If you have spinal fractures or other broken bones you may need to modify some exercises to be on the safe side, but generally exercise won’t cause you to have a fracture.
For exercise to be most effective at keeping bones strong you need to combine weight-bearing exercises with impact and resistance exercises.
What is weight bearing exercise with impact?
You are weight bearing when you are standing, with the weight of your whole body pulling down on
your skeleton. Weight bearing exercise with impact involves being on your feet and adding an additional force or jolt through your skeleton – anything from walking to star jumps.
What is resistance exercise?
Resistance training increases muscle strength by making your muscles work against a weight or force, placing stress on the muscle and related bones. You can use different forms of resistance including free weights, weight machines or body weight. It is best to target specific muscle groups around areas that are susceptible to osteoporotic fractures, including the hips and the spine.
How much and how often should I exercise to promote bone and muscle strength?
|Osteoporosis – no fractures||Osteoporosis – after a fracture has occurred||Osteoporosis – Frail and elderly|
|Weight bearing exercise with impact||About 50 moderate impacts on most days (jumps, skips, jogs, hops etc)||20 minutes lower impact exercise on most days (brisk, walking, marching stair climbing, gentle heel drops)||Avoid prolonged periods of inactivity. Stand up for a few minutes every hour|
|Resistance exercise||· On 2-3 days of the week (non-consecutive days)
· Aim for 20-30 minutes of muscle resistance exercise working on exercises that target legs, arms and spine
· Exercises should progress in intensity and weight over time, and exercise routines should be varied
Leisure walking on its own is not recommended as an adequate strategy for bone health, although it has benefits for general health and fitness. Swimming and cycling are also considered low impact sports that are not specifically beneficial for bone health.
If you have or know any-one who has Osteoporosis or has risk factors, we currently run an exercise program specifically designed to improve bone health and reduce fracture risk.
Better Bones and Balance is run by our Exercise Physiologist who is trained in prescribing individual exercises for improving and maintaining optimal bone health.
For further information call Pottsville and Cabarita Physiotherapy on (02) 6676 4000 or (02) 6676 4577.