Osteoporosis and Exercise
Osteoporosis is a major cause of disability in older men and women. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation as many as 57 million Americans suffer from this ailment. Osteoporosis can result in fractures in the hip and spine, compression of discs and stooped posture. The good news is that you can help treat osteoporosis with exercise, in particular, strength training and flexibility exercises. By being more active you can slow mineral loss and strengthen your bones. You can do low impact activities – walking, aerobics, dancing and gardening. Weight bearing exercises can have even better results as they stress the body and force it to form new bone material. This is accomplished by promoting osteoblastgenesis – the formation of bone by osteoblasts and the reabsorption of old bone by osteoclasts.
Women and men who have been physically active throughout their lives generally have stronger bones than do women and men who have led more sedentary lives. But don’t let that discourage you if you are not active. It’s never too late to start exercising! Regular physical activity can increase your muscle strength, improve your balance, better enable to carry out daily tasks and activities, maintain or improve your posture, relieve or decrease pain and improve your sense of well-being.
Exercising if you have osteoporosis means finding the safest, most enjoyable activities for you given your overall health and amount of bone loss. There’s no one-size-fits-all prescription. So think about activities that you would enjoy doing. Maybe you can find others with like interests and share in the activity. Before you start, check with you doctor to make sure you are ready to get moving. They may offer to test bone density and a general fitness assessment.
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