Fad diets may come and go, but exercise is something that all experts agree on when it comes to staying healthy with age. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle and prolonged sitting has been proven to take a toll on your cardiovascular health. Chronic health issues, however, can make it challenging to get into the swing of a fitness routine. But challenging is not impossible.
Of the nearly 10 million Americans who are living with osteoporosis, 80 percent of them are women. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that one in two women over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis, so it’s no wonder that you might be afraid to hit the gym. Exercise, however counterintuitive it may seem, can be one of the best ways to combat osteoporosis and the answer to how to improve bone density.
Weight Bearing Exercises For Osteoporosis
There are two main types of exercise you should incorporate into your fitness routine if you are looking for how to improve bone density: weight bearing exercises and muscle-strengthening exercises. Weight bearing exercises for osteoporosis include activities that make you move against gravity while still remaining upright. There are both high-impact and low-impact weight bearing exercises that you can try when you have osteoporosis.
High-impact exercises include:
- High-impact aerobics
- Jumping rope
- Climbing stairs
Sometimes high-impact weight bearing exercises for osteoporosis can do more harm than good, especially if your osteoporosis has previously gone untreated. Because the intensity of these exercises is greater, you can be more likely to break bones, so it is advised to check with your healthcare provider before trying new high-impact exercises.
Low-impact exercises include:
- Elliptical machines
- Walking, outside or on a treadmill
- Stair Climber machines
- Low-impact aerobics
- Stationary bike
Low-impact weight bearing exercises can be just as beneficial for your bones and your body as high-impact activities. They are recommended for those who may have brittle bones or who need a safe alternative to a high-impact workout.
Muscle-Strengthening Exercises For Osteoporosis
Aside from weight bearing activities, the best exercise for osteoporosis is any muscle-strengthening activity. Muscle-strengthening exercises include activities where you move your body, a weight or other form of resistance against the force of gravity. Lifting free weights are a great muscle-strengthening activity.
Other examples of how to improve bone density using muscle-strengthening exercises, include:
- Using elastic exercise bands for resistance
- Using weight machines at the gym
- Using your own bodyweight for resistance, such as push ups or tricep dips
- Standing calf raises, lunges and squats
Both yoga and Pilates are muscle-strengthening exercises that typically use the resistance of your own bodyweight to help build up muscle and strengthen bones, but they also use special props, like elastic bands or straps, to assist in and deepen the movements. While both yoga and Pilates can provide you with some of the best exercise for osteoporosis, be sure to speak with the instructor beforehand to let them know about your condition. They can help you with any modifications that might need to be made during class to accommodate your osteoporosis and avoid further injury.
Practice Fitness Safety
No matter where you are exercising--at home, at a gym, or outside in the park--it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings and your own limitations. A mobile alert device, such as Mobile Guardian or Active Guardian, can help mitigate any injuries you sustain while working out, especially if you have osteoporosis. In an emergency situation where you break a bone, you won’t have to think twice about calling for help--it will already be on its way to you.