Weight-bearing exercise and good nutrition help prevent and diminish Osteopenia and Osteoporosis (according to American Academy of Dietetics and the consensus of Rheumatologists and Orthopedists * JAMA). Genetics contributes to the risk of Osteoporosis, but you can still stem it.
Exercise with weights (that doesn’t mean not doing cardio).
Muscle-building exercise: Your bones work with your muscles, and muscle mass does affect bone density so both bones and muscles need to be flexible and strong. It’s best to work on each muscle at least twice a week.
• Free weights, dumbbells, cables & barbells: You don’t have to go very heavy, but it’s good to work your way up little by little to increase the amount of weight. Also, stand and/or sit up straight while using dumbbells and cable pulls. Keeping upright makes you use your core as opposed to your back.
• Resistance bands. These do what the name says: help your muscles, bones and core work with force as the bands resist your action. The thickness of the band determines the amount of resistance much like a weight. Use these to complement the dumbbells and cable machines. They’re also great to use at home or while walking and traveling.
• Weight machines. Eric Robertson, Physical Therapist and Orthopedic Clinical Specialist at the University of Texas recommends working with a Personal Trainer so you know what resistance or weight settings to use on these machines and to do them properly. I (Ronnie) see so many people do either too heavy and do the motion wrong or do too light and don’t follow through with a complete range of motion. These machines do a large percentage of the core work, so they are in my opinion, a great compliment to free weights, but should not be the only thing you use to work your muscles. These include cable machines.
• WEIGHT-bearing CARDIO: Doctors recommend choosing weight-bearing workouts when you can. Weight-bearing aerobics include dancing, jogging, tennis, hiking steep trails, jumping rope, stair-climbing, (low impact includes elliptical, low-impact aerobics, stair-step machines, fast walking on a treadmill or power walking. The American Physical Therapy Association states that we should get at least 30 minutes of weight-bearing aerobic activity five times a week or the equivalence of it (2½ hours, such as two 60-minute classes and one 30-minute cardio session on your own.) Walking and water aerobics are good aerobic exercise but don’t force your body to work enough against gravity to benefit your bone strength.
• Balance! You don’t want to fall. Falls can cause fractures. Stronger muscles can help keep you from falling. Plus the more you work to hold your spine straight and upright during all exercises, the more you strengthen your muscles for balance.
Balance exercises include:
• Standing on one foot. Stand on one leg while holding onto a bar or with one hand on a counter top. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. Do at least 10 sets. For more of a challenge, try this standing on a foam pad.
• Tandem walking. Walk slowly, using a wall or countertop for balance, placing each foot directly in front of the other, heel to toe.
• Leg raises. Stand on one leg while holding onto a bar or countertop, then lift your leg slowly to the side. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
If you ask me which one you should do- I’ll answer “yes”. I think you should do a mix of different kinds of weight-and resistance-training exercises plus cardio because it’s what I’ve seen benefit my clients the most, and it’s what has been shown to do the most benefits on women’s bone density and posture in reviews of research about how best to preserve bone density in postmenopausal women, particularly in the hip and spine. These findings have been published in the journal Osteoporosis International.
Hey Ronnie Personal Training & Fitness www.heyronnie.com