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!