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Exercises for Women With Osteoporosis

written by: AngelaC • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 2/26/2011

Millions of women have osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass. Although it has no outward symptoms, this disease can greatly affect the quality of your life. Fortunately, exercise for women with osteoporosis can slow down bone loss and reduce risk of injury

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    exercise for women with osteoporosis Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease that attacks the skeletal system and leads to low bone mass and eventually deterioration of the bone tissue. It increases the risk of bone fractures, most often in the wrist, hip and spine.

    Although anyone can develop osteoporosis, those at higher risk include women over the age of 45, people of Caucasian and Asian descent, those with small or thin body frames, a family history of osteoporosis or who consume a diet low in calcium and vitamin D, and people who live a sedentary lifestyle or engage in smoking and drinking alcohol. If you fall into a higher risk category, it is important to try to change as many factors as you can, as well as following exercise for women with osteoporosis. Even if you already have osteoporosis, starting an exercise program is one of the best ways to slow down the progression of this disease.

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    Benefits of Exercising

    A lack of physical activity is one of the main contributors to low bone density which can result in osteoporosis. Just like muscles, bones respond to exercise by becoming bigger and stronger. Regular physical activity places stress on your bones and helps stimulate bone growth and preserve bone mass. In addition, exercising helps improve your posture, balance and overall health.

    It’s never too late to start exercising. As you age, the amount of bone loss increases and exercising is one of the best ways to slow this process down. Before you start an exercise program it is important to consult your primary care physician to complete a bone density measurement test and get an overall fitness assessment. This will help to prevent injury and you can determine which exercises are most appropriate for you.

    The types of exercises that are recommended for women with osteoporosis include weight bearing, resistance, and balance and posture exercises.

    • Weight bearing exercise is simply exercising while your feet and legs support your body’s weight. Low impact activities include walking, dancing, or climbing stairs. Do not do exercises that are high impact or involve bending and twisting at the waist.
    • Resistance exercises work against the weight of another object and are vital to increasing bone density and reducing the risk of fractures. When doing resistance exercises it is important to equally work all of your muscles. Examples of resistance exercise include performing exercises with free weights, weight machines or water exercises. While completing your exercises, it is important to allow yourself more recovery time, take a longer rest between sets, and space your workouts two days apart.
    • Balance and posture exercises promote good posture, strength, movement, flexibility and balance. These types of exercises are important to help improve coordination, and reduce your risk of falling and breaking bones.
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    Continue reading on next page.

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    Exercise for women with osteoporosis is essential to help strengthen bones and reduce bone loss. Learn several specific exercises designed for people who suffer from this condition.
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    Exercise For Women With Osteoporosis

    The following are exercises that can be performed if you currently have osteoporosis. Review these exercises with your doctor and also incorporate additional resistance and weight bearing activities for a safe and complete exercise program.

    Posture Exercises

    Upper Back Stretch

    1. Lie facedown with a rolled towel under your forehead.
    2. Place your arms, bent at 90 degrees, out to your sides.
    3. Pinch your shoulder blades, raising your arms a few inches off the floor.
    4. Hold, then lower.
    5. Repeat 10 times, 2 to 3 times per week.

    Wall Slide

    1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and heels one shoe-length from the wall.
    2. Place the back of your head, buttocks, palms of your hands, and shoulders against the wall
    3. Slide up and down, bending your knees half-way to a sitting position.
    4. Keep your back flat.
    5. Repeat 10 times, 2 to 3 times per week.

    Resistance Exercises

    Hip Abductor Lift

    1. Stand straight and hold onto the back of a chair.
    2. Place one hand on the top of your pelvis, point your toes forward, and raise your leg straight out to the side without bending at your waist or knee.
    3. Lower your leg and repeat 10 times.
    4. Change sides and complete the exercise with your other leg.
    5. Repeat 2 to 3 times per week.

    Prone Leg Lift

    1. Lie facedown with a rolled towel under your forehead and under your abdomen.
    2. Bend your right leg slightly and lift your thigh off the floor, keeping your foot relaxed.
    3. Lower your leg and repeat 10 times.
    4. Change sides and complete the exercise with your other leg.
    5. Repeat 2 to 3 times per week.

    Balance Exercises

    Toe Raise

    1. Stand straight and hold onto the back of a chair.
    2. Rise up on your toes and then back onto your heels without bending at your waist or knees.
    3. Repeat 10 times.
    4. Hold onto the chair as little as possible to challenge your balance.
    5. Repeat 1 time per day.

    One Leg Balance

    1. Stand straight with your head and toes facing forward.
    2. Tighten your lower abdominal muscles, lift one knee to a comfortable position, and hold 5 to 10 seconds.
    3. Lower your leg and repeat 10 times.
    4. Change sides and complete the exercise with your other leg.
    5. Repeat 2 to 3 times per week.
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    References

    National Osteoporosis Foundation: Exercise for Healthy Bones - http://www.nof.org/node/54

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Growing Stronger – Strength Training for Older Adults - http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/index.html

    Image Courtesy Of: WikiMedia Commons - www.localfitness.com.au

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