Prevent Osteoporosis with Simple Exercises Done at HomePosted: Updated:
Prevent Osteoporosis with Simple Exercises Done at Home
As you age the mechanism that controls the rebuilding of bone becomes less efficient. The structure of our bones weakens over time. This increases the likelihood that a fracture may occur. The fracture typically comes at the worst possible time and affects bones that have trouble healing. This leads to a significant change in the health and well being of the person affected by the fracture. Osteoporosis and Osteopenia are both diseases characterized by the progressive loss of bone mass. Postmenopausal women and older men are the most susceptible. This disease, as reported by the World Health Organization, affects approximately 50% of postmenopausal women.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) has a list of five steps to bone health:
1. Adults over age 50 get 1,200 mg of calcium and 800-1,000 IU of vitamin D daily.
2. On most days of the week get up to 30 minutes of exercise.
3. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol.
4. Talk to your healthcare provider about bone health.
5. Have a bone density test and take medication when appropriate.
Since low bone mass can increase your chance of a life changing fracture, preventing it should be a priority. A few simple exercises done each day can go a long way towards preventing this disease. Thirty minutes at one time may seem like a lot to do for some. This can be broken down into smaller increments, such as three 10-minute sessions. Weight bearing and impact exercises are best for building muscle and bone mass. These include training with weights, jogging, high-impact aerobics and dancing.
For those of you who are not interested in high impact aerobics or do not have access to a gym, do not worry. There are many simple things you can do at home. The first step is to always take the stairs. This builds up the muscles and the bones in the hip. Wearing a backpack with books in it will increase the intensity level. Adding and removing books can change the intensity. It is important to push yourself on this. More intense exercises build strong muscles leading to strong bones. Again, three 10-minute walks each day or 30 minutes at one time most days of the week is enough to help.
Another key to remember is good posture while performing all exercises. Keep the chin back, chest out, and shoulder blades slightly pinched together. When walking point the toes straight ahead, keep a slight arch in the lower back and draw the belly button in making your tummy small. And if that isn't enough to remember, breathe naturally.
Pushups are an excellent way to strengthen the shoulder joint and the muscles surrounding it. If you are not strong enough to do pushups on the ground they can be modified. This is where your kitchen counter top comes in handy for working out. Place both hands shoulder width apart on the edge of the counter top then lower your body down until you touch your chest on that edge. It is also important to keep the body straight. Do not let the hips drop. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions. Allow yourself 15 to 30 seconds to rest between sets. The intensity level of this exercise can be increased in the same manner as the stairs. With a weighted back pack. When you can perform 15 weighted repetitions with ease on the counter it is time to try the floor.
Exercise does not have to be complicated to be effective. It has many health benefits that can lead to improving every aspect of your life. You won't regret at least doing something. If you are looking for something a little more challenging and exciting, consult a health and fitness professional. This will take the guesswork out of your exercise program. Plus you can get feedback on your form. It is also important to check with your physician before starting an exercise program. They will be able to determine if there are any reasons you should restrict your activity.
Craig Hudkins, CPT
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