Pilates for Strong Bones

Pilates for Strong Bones

My hope with this post is to simplify the subject of exercise to maintain or even improve your bone health.

There are no guarantees that you’ll be able to avoid bone loss or build bone, but it’s important to do what you can to stay bone healthy.

The information about osteoporosis prevention is so overwhelming that it may even keep some women from being active for fear of fracture. The result is weaker muscles, more bone loss and increased fall risk.  This is absolutely NOT what we want to have happen.

Lifestyle & Exercise

Lifestyle changes include incorporating safe, effective exercise into your daily routine, learning how to perform common day to day activities safely and avoid falls.

For a great resource on all things exercise for bone health check the American Bone Health website.

The general recommendation for a bone healthy exercise program includes:

  • Walking or other weight bearing activity – 3-5x/week for 30minutes to MAINTAIN or IMPROVE bone strength.**
  • Balance Training to reduce the risk of falls
  • Strength Training to increase leg and upper back strength and MAINTAIN OR IMPROVE bone strength
  • Specific back arching or back extension exercises to IMPROVE bone strength

**If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis check with you doctor about doing High Impact activities.

See? Not so complicated.  The bottom line:

  • Stay active
  • maintain muscle strength, especially in your legs and upper back.
  • maintain a good sense of balance and coordination

Pilates For Bone Health

I believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of Pilates at any age.

However, about 75% of the 34 traditional mat Pilates exercises are contraindicated for osteoporosis.

Yikes.  Why then Pilates?  

First, the concepts around which Pilates are built are valuable for creating and maintaining life long health.

Well ahead of his time, Joe Pilates believed in functional health, the ability to live life with pleasure. He taught that the coordination of body mind and spirit would give us greater command of our bodies, allowing us to move with precision and efficiency and making daily tasks easier and more enjoyable.

Additionally, the Pilates exercise repertoire focuses on body awareness, alignment, precision and breathing all of which can be applied to bone healthy exercise.  So while many of the exercises in their original form are contraindicated, they can easily be modified by a knowledgeable instructor.

Using the Pilates philosophy and modified exercises we can:

  • Decrease the risk of spine fracture by improving posture and alignment
  • Strengthen the upper back to reduce the risk of fracture
  • Decrease the risk of falls with balance training
  • Improve body awareness to avoid movements that increase fracture risk.

When you join The Art of Going Gray Monthly Membership you’ll get immediate access to an Osteoporosis Safe Pilates Workout.  To join, CLICK HERE.

Have questions or comments about this post? Post them below and I’ll get right back to you!


2 Responses to Pilates for Strong Bones

  1. Susan McVicker says:

    I think we all know how DREADING something is often worse than the actual thing. This happened to me when my sister encouraged me to get a bone-density scan because HER scan showed that she had osteoporosis. I thought, oh boy, if SHE has it, I’m SURE that I have it. I had often wondered about that in the past, because my thyroid treatment sucks calcium away from the body. So, instead of putting it off any longer, I asked for a scan and the results were…that my bones were HEALTHY! I confess that this was a total surprise to me. But that knowledge was incredibly freeing and gave me the inspiration to get right to work to KEEP my bones healthy. I encourage your viewers to just get it over with and get their scans! 🙂 Thank you for this addressing this topic!

    • Betsy Ogden says:

      Whoohoo! Congrats Susan on the strong bones! And on your commitment to keep exercising to keep them strong – not sure where you are with menopause, but the first couple of years after we enter menopause are when bone density can decrease quite a bit owing to the loss of estrogen in our bodies. So it’s vital to keep doing resistance training through our 50’s, 60’s and beyond. Thanks so much for nudging others to get checked!

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