Training woman drinking milk

Published on January 6th, 2014 | by Joe Starks

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Help: How to Train with Osteoporosis

Around one third of men and half the women over the age of 60 suffer from osteoporosis. It is a debilitating disease whose intensity can range from insignificant to deadly. When we grow older we all lose some of our muscle and bone mass naturally. This happens because out hormones change and so does our lifestyle. When your bone mass degrades to a certain low density and below you suffer from osteoporosis. In a few words: when your bones don’t have enough minerals inside them they become brittle. This leads to dangerous fractures and a lot of pain. Osteoporosis makes any kind of training difficult and this is why most people suffering from it don’t exercise at all. Sadly training is one of the few ways to prevent or improve your condition once you suffer from osteoporosis.

What to beware of

It is extremely dangerous to start training on your own when you suffer from a serious case of osteoporosis. Even mild cases demand some guidance or supervision, unless you do not fear of worsening your condition. The most important things you should NOT do are:

  • Never do high impact exercises without supervision. Anything that includes punching, kicking, swinging and jumping should be avoided. You should only ever dare do those exercises when a professional trainer helps you do so. Make sure your trainer knows exactly how bad your osteoporosis is.
  • Don’t do any exercise that could cause you to fall. Walking up stairs, running on a treadmill or walking on rough terrain are all examples of exercises where you could easily lose control and fall down. Even with mild osteoporosis you are in danger of getting bone fractures that will only hinder you bone density development further.
  • Don’t rush your training. Having low bone density means that you must be very careful every time you try something new as far as exercises are concerned. New movements and training can be challenging and you might injure yourself if you don’t restrain your enthusiasm

What to do

Exercise is pretty much one of the very few ways to successfully preserve and even increases your bone density. Studies have shown that a group of women that did a whole year of weight training had a significant increase in their bone density and muscle mass. Losing muscle mass is one of the reasons why we feel so tired as we age. This is why weight training can help you in more than one way when battling osteoporosis.

What kind of training is best for your case depends on the severity of your condition. In this article we have a list of exercises that range from the ideal for severely hindered by osteoporosis to what is best for light cases and prevention:

  • Water aerobics are a very mild kind of exercise. It does not build as much muscle mass or increases bone density as much as other exercises, but if you suffer from a very severe case of osteoporosis it is a very safe way to train.
  • Aerobics are ideal for average and mild cases of osteoporosis. With the addition of light weights to the program you can do wonders for your bones and fitness.
  • Weight lifting exercises. Mild cases of osteoporosis should do some weight lifting three times a week with a day in between sessions for rest. Never try a weight lifting exercise without a professional at your side to guide you through it. Choose exercises that don’t impact your spine as much. Lifting weight in a sitting position is usually the ideal way to go. Don’t increase the weight you lift without consulting with your trainer first.
  • Walking isn’t very good for increasing muscle mass and bone density, but if you are totally untrained it might be a good exercise to start with.
  • Dancing, yoga and tai chi are great exercises to increase your muscle mass and improve your bone density by a little bit.

It is a difficult thing to increase your bone density and fight against aging like this. You have to be prepared to offer at least three hours of your time every week to exercise. You need to be patient as far as results are concerned. It might take over a year to feel a significant difference, especially when your condition is already serious. Eating a good amount of calcium every day is also critical. Don’t think that just because you are still young or don’t suffer from osteoporosis yet that you don’t need to worry about exercise. You can get osteoporosis at any age and you should start prevention from as early as possible.

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