How Can Exercise Prevent Osteoporosis?

Studies have shown that exercise can help prevent bone loss or decay. Weight or load bearing are ideal exercises for increasing bone health and density. Find ways to exercise and prevent the onset of osteoporosis by reading the article below.

Most of the recent studies focus on how exercise and regular activity can prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Experts claim that load bearing exercises performed thrice daily for a week can reduce the risks of developing osteoporosis.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease also referred to as the “porous bones”. Researchers claim that bones are living tissues that need to be constantly rebuilt. With the onset of osteoporosis, the bones begin to degenerate instead of being rebuilt. This causes the thinning of bones thereby making them more susceptible to decay and breakdown.

How do Bones Develop and Decay Over the Ages?

Bone density or mass increases with age and adolescence. Bones grow strong and healthy till the age of 20-30 years old. Straight after this age, bone loss can outgrow bone formation. Gradually, with age, bone loss speeds up. For example, the menopausal stage in women is marked distinctly by bone loss. This happens due to the loss of estrogen, an important hormone that helps in protecting the bones.

Exercise or Physical Therapy for Preventing Osteoporosis

Lucy J Buckley, a member of The American Physical Therapy Association, claims that “exercise makes bones strong and resilient, while inactivity leads to diminished bone mass and weakness”.

Experts from the association further assert that weight bearing exercises and strength training can help prevent osteoporosis. Strength training, for example, helps improve the balance by strengthening the neck, back and shoulder muscles.

Physical therapy programs are designed to suit the needs of an individual after studying the mechanics and function of the body. Exercise therefore helps in reducing the risks of injury by improving posture and balance.

Common Exercises to Prevent Osteoporosis

The most common exercises to prevent the onset of osteoporosis are listed here below:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Dancing
  • Field Hockey
  • Frisbee
  • Gymnastics
  • Push ups
  • Jumping rope

Benefits of Weight or Load Bearing Exercises

The benefits of weight bearing exercises to prevent bone loss and decay are listed here below:

  • Improves heart and lung function
  • Increases blood circulation
  • Increases the strength of muscles and bones
  • Enables coordination
  • Improves balance and flexibility

Performing weight or load bearing exercises for a maximum of 30 minutes can help reduce bone loss or osteoporosis to considerable extents.

Tips to Start Exercise

You need not enroll yourself into an expensive gym for pursuing strength or resistance training exercises. Simply use free weights or rubber tubes to exercise the muscle groups in a systematic manner. Some easy tips to start exercising are listed here below:

  • Consult a physician about the suitability of load or weight bearing exercises
  • Always start with warm ups and end by cooling down with stretch and flexibility exercises
  • Try combining several weight bearing exercises to reduce boredom and to encourage bone health
  • Drink plenty of fluids in between exercises and otherwise
  • Combine resistance training with weight or load bearing exercises for better results
  • Try engaging in more physical activity like using the stairs instead of the elevator or going out for regular walks

Testing for Bone Health

Researchers claim that one way to examine bone density and health is by performing the Bone Density Screening (Source). Also keep your doctor informed about the following risk factors before engaging in weight or load bearing exercises:

  • Post menopausal condition or the onset of menopause
  • Smoking
  • Any medical history of injury or fractures
  • Any family history of osteoporosis
  • If you are using corticosteroids for more than three months
  • Delayed menstrual cycles
  • Any history of bulimia or anorexia
  • Addicted to alcohol
  • Calcium and Vitamin D deficiency
  • Using medications like cancer drugs or thyroid drugs

Exercise your way to improve bone health and density. Always consult a doctor or physician before engaging in weight or load bearing exercises to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.