Best Exercises for Osteoporosis

Last week, I posted a blog with general information regarding osteoporosis.  And because I receive numerous questions from Baby Boomers and seniors about the best type of exercise for the condition, I’m posting this follow-up piece.

Bone-Strengthening Exercises
The optimal physical activity program to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis, according to National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), includes weight-bearing, muscle-building, and non-impact (to support balance, posture, and everyday functions) exercises. If you already have the disease, these activities can also help maintain your bone mass.

Weight-bearing exercises
NOF defines weight-bearing activities as those that make you move against gravity while staying upright. Another way to think of them is that your feet and legs support your body’s weight. Therefore, swimming and bicycling, while providing excellent cardiovascular workouts, are not considered to be weight-bearing exercises.
Examples: Walking, jogging, hiking, dancing, stair climbing, and tennis.
Recommendation: 30 minutes at least five days per week.

photo weights
Weight-bearing exercises are critical to protect against osteoporosis.

Muscle-building (strength or resistance training) exercises
In strength training, you move your body against the weight of another object to cause muscular contraction. This training strengthens and builds muscle and bones, helping those with osteoporosis and decreasing the risk of fractures.
Examples: Lifting dumbbells, using weight machines, performing body weight exercises (push-ups, squats, etc.), using resistance tubing or bands.
Recommendation: Exercise all major muscle groups (back, shoulders, arms, legs, chest, stomach) two – three times per week, with 48 hours rest in between.
Caution: Exercises that include bending or twisting at the waist can put you at risk for spinal fracture.

Non-impact exercise
These are exercises that increase balance, posture, and flexibility to guard against injury from osteoporosis.
Examples: Regular stretching, tai chi, yoga, functional exercises that help you perform activities of daily living (such as getting in and out of a car, lifting groceries, or opening a door).
Recommendation: Perform daily.

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