Healthy Bones for Life!
Did you know that over 1.3 million Victorian’s over the age of 50 currently have osteoporosis? If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed, this can be a confusing time trying to learn the best ways to manage this condition. In this blog, we discuss how exercise can help in reducing your risk of fractures and maintaining your bone strength.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is diagnosed in those who have a low bone mineral density, meaning their bone strength has reduced and are more prone to fractures. During our lives, our bones are constantly breaking down cells and rebuilding to maintain a healthy skeleton. In those with osteoporosis, our bodies are breaking down our bone cells at an increased rate than our body can rebuild causing bone strength to decrease.
Who is at risk of Osteoporosis?
Our lifestyle factors, activity levels and genetics can all play a role in our bone health, however you may be at a higher risk than others. Those who are maybe more likely to develop osteoporosis are:
- Post-menopausal women
- Those with low vitamin D and calcium levels
- Patients undergoing steroid or hormonal treatment, such as cancer survivors
If you are at risk of osteoporosis or have had a recent fracture, your GP may refer you to have a DEXA scan. This will measure your bone mineral density and compare it to the average density of those at 20 years of age. You will be given a T-score in which will classify your bones as healthy or within the osteopenia or osteoporotic category.
What is the recommended exercise for people with osteoporosis?
Research shows our bones will adapt to impact and strength training by increasing your bone production to make them stronger. Therefore, participating in the below activities can reduce your risk of fractures and maintain or even improve your bone strength.
This activity can be body, machine or free weights targeted at increasing your muscular strength and endurance. An exercise physiologist can assist you in performing these exercises correctly and direct you towards which exercises will benefit you the most.
Impact training :
This includes activities such as jumping, hopping and stomping. This puts an increased load through the bone, therefore our bones will improve or maintain its strength to adapt to the increased loading. It is important to be appropriately assessed before attempting these activities to reduce the risk of injury.
Balance and mobility activities:
These activities will improve your balance and therefore decrease your risk of a falls related fracture. Exercises will depend on your current level of balance, in which an exercise physiologist can assess and prescribe specific exercises for you.
How can Exercise Physiologists help?
As Accredited Exercise Physiologists, we will write an individualised exercise program tailored to you and your lifestyle. A combination of resistance, balance and impact exercises can be safely included into your daily activities to assist in managing your osteoporosis. If you have any questions or would like to improve your bone health, give us a call at PACE Health Management today.
1. Watts, J. J., et al. (2013). "Osteoporosis costing all Australian: a new burden of disease analysis-2012 to 2022."
2. Marcocci, C. and F. Saponaro (2018). Osteoporosis Diagnosis. Multidisciplinary Approach to Osteoporosis, Springer: 45-57
3. Carli, L., et al. (2016). "Risk factors for osteoporosis and fragility fractures in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus." 3(1): e000098.