Exercise & osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can be a daunting diagnosis. Most people are aware that exercise is beneficial, but exactly what type and how much can be difficult get a clear answer about. Below I have listed some brief information to help you understand which exercise is best for your health.
Exercise & Osteoporosis: What type?
Progressive heavy resistance training leading to dynamic exercise (jumping, stepping, skipping….). This form of exercise is certainly not where we begin, but what we build up to over a long period of time. It is possible to start with some simply body weight exercises to perform at home, then progress to a gym or community setting when more equipment is required. Balance and falls prevention exercises are always included as a preventative measure.
Exercise & Osteoporosis: How much?
Long term for best outcomes (18 months +). This ensures that a gradual yet progressive approach is achieved to ensure we gently stimulate bone growth safely.
Exercise & Osteoporosis: Who is it for?
Anyone. Everyone. Most definitely all high risk individuals and those already diagnosed with osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Exercise & Osteoporosis: How often?
Adolescents benefit from 2-3 times per week
Adults and older adults benefit from 5 days per week of structured exercise (can be performed at the gym 2-3 times per week and at home on other days for best results).
Exercise & Osteoporosis: Expected outcomes
- Large positive effect on strength
- Modest improvement in gait speed
- Significant improvement in physical ability
- Large improvement in performing ADLs
- Reduction in pain
- Improvements in bone mass up to 2.5%
Exercise & Osteoporosis: Further Reading
For your reading pleasure I have included a reference to a Cochrane Review published in 2015 titled “Progressive Resistance Training for Improving Physical Function“. You will have to download it yourself, but it is freely available and I decided against sending you a 200+ page download.
Finally, for the take home message I have included another reference to a fantastic RCT which involved an 18 month exercise intervention and established significant improvements in BMD in older woman over this time period. Small 1-2% differences in BMD, together with other exercise benefits such as improved muscle function and balance, may reduce fracture incidence by as much as 50% (Exercise effects on bone mineral density, falls, coronary risk factors, and health care costs in older woman. Kemmler et al 2010).
I run a small social exercise group twice per week on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11am for 1 hour ($25), which is available to everyone, but typically has several post-menopausal woman with osteoporosis and/or lateral hip pain, cancer survivors regaining their health, and cardiac out-patients seeking safe and effective ways to return to exercise. Everyone has their own program that they follow and I progress them as appropriate. More information on the Lifestyle Group can be found here.