In one of our previous blog posts we talked about how exercise can improve bone health.  But what if a person already suffers from Osteopenia or Osteoporosis?  Osteopenia is when your bones’ mineral density is lower than normal, but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis is when your bones have reached a point where they become brittle and weak and you are at a higher risk of bone fractures.

Your bones are constantly producing new bone cells and old bone is broken down.  At approximately the age of 35 you break down bone faster than you build it. For women this breakdown occurs even faster after menopause due to the drop of estrogen production.  It is no doubt a major cause of disability in women and turns what a younger person would consider a simple fracture into a severe or life threatening problem.  How can we reduce the risk of broken bones or spinal problems in people with osteoporosis?

If you have already reached the stage of osteoporosis, your doctor will most likely prescribe some type of medication, plus dietary and lifestyle changes.  But what can you do to help manage your osteoporosis or osteopenia, or prevent it from getting that far? EXERCISE!

Of course, always get clearance from your doctor first, to ensure you are doing the exercises that are right for your entire health.

In general, weight bearing exercise will be recommended.  This would include walking and weight training.  You should avoid jogging or any high impact exercise and excessive weight lifting with extremely heavy weights if you already have osteoporosis. Swimming and cycling are great forms of exercise but generally do not have enough weight bearing benefits for people trying to stimulate bone growth.  However, these may be the best choice for a person rehabilitating a broken bone or in extreme cases of osteoporosis.

Remember, get clearance from your doctor first and then get exercising.  If exercise is new to you, meet with a personal trainer to get you started.  If you do not have any bone loss issues, don’t wait.  Prevention is the best cure.

-by Fitness Educator Ramona Stehle

Balanced Health and Wellness is Katy’s premier wellness center dedicated to providing information and medical care to enable people to achieve and maintain optimal wellness.