Osteoporosis represents a condition in which the bones of your body are weakened by low calcium levels in the bony matrix. It can come from low calcium intake, heredity, or a lack of exercise of the bones and joints.
Osteoporosis affects 75 million people in Europe, USA, and Japan. 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporotic fracture, along with 1 in 5 men 50 and older across the world.
Globally, there is an osteoporosis related fracture every second, with more than 8.9 million fractures each year.
Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women around the world: 1/10 of women age 60, 1/5 of women age 70, 2/5 of women age 80, and 2/3 of women age 90.
Aerobic Exercise for Osteoporosis
Even though your bones are weak, it doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. In fact, the more exercise you do, the stronger your bones will become. There is something to the old adage that if you don’t “use it you’ll lose it” when it comes to bone strength.
Simple aerobic exercising like walking or swimming are good exercises for when you have osteoporosis. Make sure that, if you walk, you walk on even terrain so that you don’t trip and fall while walking. Walking puts stress on your axial skeleton as well as on your leg bones, which respond by becoming stronger.
Try walking for thirty minutes a day on most days of the week. It doesn’t really matter how far you get in those thirty minutes. It just matters that you are upright and putting stress on the bones. The other days of the week, you can rest or participate in anaerobic exercises (to be discussed below).
Swimming strengthens your muscles without putting undue stress on your joints. The activity of your arms and legs in water will strengthen your muscles and put some stress on your bones by the hydrostatic pressure of water. This is an excellent form of exercise for those who want strong muscles but are afraid of further injuring the bones and joints from too much pressure on them.
If you think walking is too hard on your joints, try swimming before going on to walking as a form of exercise. This stepwise approach will help you feel more confident in your muscle strength as you begin to use walking for exercise.
Anaerobic Exercise for Osteoporosis
Anaerobic exercise can strengthen your bones through strength training of the muscles. You don’t have to be Superman to do this kind of exercise. Start simply by taking out a can of soup or vegetables and lift the can using your biceps muscles and then your triceps muscles.
Some people put two cans of soup inside a pair of socks and tie them together for extra weight and for the ability to do this type of exercise on your legs. You can loop the tied socks around your ankle and sit in a chair, lifting the weighted socks up and down from the floor or lifting from your hips instead of your knees.
After a while, the “soup can” exercises will seem too easy for you and you’ll want to graduate to greater weights. You can use different weights of free weights to strengthen the wrists, forearms, and upper arms. You can buy weighted bands that wrap around your ankles so that you can lift several more pounds of weight than you can when using soup cans. Again, you can lift from your knees or lift from your hips. You can even wear the ankle weights when walking in order to improve your lower body muscle strength.
The End Result
Eventually, you can graduate to using upper and lower body weight machines at the health club, which allow for even greater weights to be applied to the bones. This is an effective way of exercising when you don’t have very weak bones to begin with or have strengthened the bones using the above incremental method of increasing bone strength. Do not use weight machines on osteoporotic bones without previously working on milder weights or you can suffer from fractures due to excessive pressure on the bones.
Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.