Exercises To Prevent Osteoporosis

Exercises to prevent Osteoporosis help trigger the body to keep bones strong.  Exercise can help prevent, and help repair

Exercise is one of two methods capable of and reliable to add density to bone density measures.

Nutrition is the other, and more important factor.  But exercise not only helps bone, it is good for the rest of the body and all it's functions

Statistically osteoporosis mainly affects women (and more so as they age), but exercise can help every single individual affected.



Exercises To Prevent Osteoporosis
One Of Two Methods To Prevent and Reverse Bone Density Loss

There are two forms/categories of exercise that are research proven to help prevent and reverse osteoporosis bone density loss.

  1. Weight Bearing Exercise
  2. Resistance Exercise


Osteoporosis exercises must be one or both.

Exercises to prevent osteoporosis must fit into one or both of these two categories or the activity, while good for other things, won't actually trigger the bone strengthening response.


1.  Weight Bearing Exercise

Weight bearing exercise is defined as anything that adds weight to load bearing structures.

This being spine, hips, knees, ankles, feet.

Examples of weight bearing exercises are:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Dancing
  • Climbing stairs (up and down)

Walking (we'll use that as a catch all term for the above activities) as little as three times a week has been shown to have a beneficial (and measurable) affect on slowing the progress of osteoporosis.


Gravity is relentless, always bearing down on us.

Being on our feet and moving around puts load (gravity plus our body weight) on weight bearing structures (our bones and joints) and the muscles attached that 'pull' on the bones.

This pull and pressure on the bones triggers the brain to 'build' bone.  It's a function of stimulus and response.

Load on the bone (stimulus) causes various bone building factors to be triggered (response).

Sitting around doing crossword puzzles provides inconsequential load on the bones (stimulus) which results in inconsequential amount of bone building factors to be triggered (response).


Weight bearing exercises are some of the best exercises for osteoporosis.


2.  Resistance Exercise

Resistance exercise is, essentially, lifting weights.

But resistance exercise is anything where you 'add resistance' to movements.

So: 

  • Exercise/resistance bands
  • Exercise in water
  • Weight lifting


Oh, if only women (of all ages) would lift weights. At home or at the gym...millions of women doing deadlifts, squats, bench press, heavy rows, etc.   That would be millions of women affected less by osteoporosis.

Again, nutrition is a key part of preventing and reversing osteoporosis, but just the benefits of weightlifting alone would make a huge difference for anybody doing resistance exercise.


And, does it even need to be said how important it is to avoid the Signs And Symptoms Of Osteoporosis at all costs?


Exercise in water is effective because it provides resistance.  But weight lifting is the best exercises for osteoporosis because it i (most lifts are, anyway) weight bearing and resistive.


Interestingly enough, Tendonitis and Osteoporosis work side by side but not hand in hand.  

Having said that, the pain and dysfunction of the reduced bone density dynamic can help increase the factors that cause tendonitis.


See:  What Is Tendonitis?



Exercises To Prevent Osteoporosis
Weight Bearing

Riding a bicycle and swimming are great cardio exercises, but are not considered to be the best exercises for osteoporosis prevention.  

Riding/swimming provide lots of movement and increased heart rate, which is good in so many ways.

But research shows that they are not the best exercises for preventing osteoporosis.  

To be considered osteoporosis exercises, they must be weight bearing and/or provide resistance (which weight bearing absolutely does provide.)


How does weight bearing exercise help prevent osteoporosis?

The source of the load bearing doesn't matter to the body, it doesn't know or care.  All it knows/feels is whether weight bearing force is being applied to bones or not.

What the body notices is the forces upon the body that weight bearing exercise provides.

The body is a stimulus/response machine.  Give it a certain stimulus and it will respond predictably every time with it's response.

It looks like this:

  1. A weight bearing motion happens (each and every step while walking)
  2. Muscles contract (pulling on their attachments to bones) and extra force hits the bones as the muscles contract against resistance (the weight)
  3. The bones 'feel' the force pulling on them and being applied to them as gravity pulls down on bones.  This information is sent to the brain.
  4. The brain goes "Hey, we're getting pulled on/pushed on.  We better make that bone strong so we won't get hurt."
  5. The brain sets in motion various bone building factors.
  6. Bone becomes a little stronger.


This happens with each and every step.  The benefits are cumulative.  This is why walking as little as three times a week shows measurable results.


Exercises To Prevent Osteoporosis
Resistance

Remember I said that swimming was not a good weight bearing exercise?  It's not. 

But it is a good resistance exercise.

Being in water removes almost all the 'gravity' load on a body.  But the swimming or standing 'water exercise' motions push against the resistance that water provides, and that resistance triggers the beneficial effect.


How does resistance exercise help prevent osteoporosis?

The source of the resistance doesn't matter to the body, it doesn't know or care.

What the body notices is the forces upon the body that resistance exercise provides.

The body is a stimulus/response machine.  Give it a certain stimulus and it will respond predictably every time with it's response.

It looks like this:

  1. A resistance exercise motion happens (lifting a weight)
  2. Muscles contract (pulling on their attachments to bones) and extra force hits the bones as the muscles contract against resistance (the weight)
  3. The bones 'feel' the force pulling on them.  This information is sent to the brain.
  4. The brain goes "Hey, we're getting pulled on.  We better make that bone strong so we won't get hurt."
  5. The brain sets in motion various bone building factors.
  6. Bone becomes a little stronger.


Small resistance triggers this. Big resistance triggers this more.



Exercises To Prevent Osteoporosis
Yoga

Yoga has been shown to help prevent the progression of osteoporosis.

Any particular yoga class or session at home includes some weight bearing and some resistance.

The weight bearing is provided by gravity and any of the 'on  your feet' and 'on your hands/arms' poses.

The resistance is provided by holding any of the many possible positions, -and- also by 'holding the tone' of muscles (contracting them). 

The resistance is:

  • muscle contraction pulling on bone in certain positions
  • muscle contraction resisting the pull of body weight and gravity in certain positions


The body thrives on movement.  In particular, bones thrive on weight bearing and movements with resistance.

A regular or even semi-regular yoga practice is great for health on all levels.


Exercises To Prevent Osteoporosis
Nutrition And Exercise

As you can see from the above, even a little bit of the right kind of exercise can, over time, play a huge role in preventing the progression of osteoporosis.

Point being, exercises to prevent osteoporosis can be very effective. And exercise is good for the aging body in many other important ways.

And that is all well and good.  Everybody should exercise, in general, because it provides so much benefit to one's body and one's life and one's healthy longevity.

And it is important to understand that while the right kind of osteoporosis exercise is good, effective, beneficial, and important, nutrition is a more important key.

Without the right nutrition for the body to work with, the body can't give bones what they need to become stronger.

When you do osteoporosis exercises, the body will deliver as much of the right nutrition to the bones as it can.

But if it needs (I'm just making up numbers here) 10 things to make a bone strong, and there are only 3 things available in the body, then there's not enough to work with and the bones can ony become 3 strong instead of 10 strong.


Nutrition is more important than exercises to prevent osteoporosis. Having said that, resistance/weight bearing osteoporosis exercises are important for and very helpful in the reversal and prevention of osteoporosis.

Get to work.





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