Osteoporosis is a bone disease that develops when the body loses too much bone mass, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and worst case, may break as a result of a fall. Peak bone mass is determined by sex, heredity family history, race, diet and exercise and about 60% of bone growth occurs during adolescence. Moderate exercise protects against osteoporosis, but too little exercise may cause osteoporosis. Inactivity may also cause bone loss, whereas weight-bearing exercises may maintain or help improve bone mineral density. There is a significant correlation between muscle strength and bone mineral density. Weight-bearing exercises have been proven to increase bone mineral density over time. These exercises include activities that make you move against gravity while staying upright. Weight-bearing exercises can be high-impact or low-impact.
High-impact weight-bearing exercises help build bones and keep them strong. If you have broken a bone due to osteoporosis or are at risk of breaking a bone, you may need to avoid high-impact exercises. Examples of high-impact weight-bearing exercises are:
- Jumping Rope
- Stair climbing
Low-impact weight-bearing exercises can also help keep bones strong and are a safe alternative if you cannot do high-impact exercises. Examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercises are:
- Using elliptical training machines
- Walking (on a treadmill or outside)
- Low impact aerobics class
Strength Training Exercises
These activities include moving your own body, weights or other resistance against gravity. Examples include:
- Lifting weights
- Using elastic exercise bands
- Using weight machines
- Lifting your own body weight
These improve your ability to hold yourself upright and help prevent falls. Examples include tai chi, yoga, and supervised stability exercises.
Remember to always check with your doctor before implementing an exercise routine.
By Louise Mills-Strasser, M.S., EP-c