Maintaining physical activity throughout your life is imperative to both build and keep up bone strength. Bones are similar to muscles in that they respond positively to weight-bearing exercises. TheInternational Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) recommends achieving this through weight-bearing or impact exercises. But the goals and exercise programs that scientific studies demonstrate improve or maintain bone health vary by life stages. Many of the regimens came from group exercise programs, so professional supervision is necessary.
If you doctor diagnoses you with osteoporosis, he may prescribe Actonel, a bisphosphonate that prevents bone breakdown. Continuing physical activity during treatment is important. The Too Fit to Fracture Initiative established these exercise recommendations for osteoporosis patients based on an international consensus process.
Select a multicomponent program that includes resistance and balance exercises.
Don’t pursue aerobic activities that exclude resistance or balance training.
Perform daily balance and endurance training for spinal extensor muscles.
After spinal fracture, consult a physical or occupational therapist for resistance and balance training advice. Choose moderate-intensity instead of vigorous aerobic activity.
Young Adults and Premenopausal Women
After puberty, bone mineral density (BMD) is hard to augment. Therefore, the main role of exercise in young adults and pre-menopausal women is to maintain rather than increase BMD. Nevertheless, high-intensity exercise can lead to modest bone accrual in targeted areas. Even small increases in bone mineral may reduce your fracture risk in later life significantly. Consider these exercise programs.
High-impact jumping: Alternate aerobic jump and step programs weekly. Perform three sessions per week over an 18-month period. Increase jump height progressively from 3.94 inches to 9.84 inches while decreasing the number of jumps per session from 200 to 100. This exercise plan increased lumbar spine and femoral neck BMD in 35- to 45-year-old Finnish women by approximately two percent.
Stretching and non-impact activities
Resistance training: Three different classes per week over two years augmented BMD at the lumbar spine by approximately five percent and the femoral neck by about three percent.
A: Every 12 minutes, alternate between exercise stations (push-ups, sit-ups, arm-curls with dumbbells, and presses with barbells) and high-impact aerobic activities.
B: Lift moderate weights (6.6- to 13.2-pound dumbbells or 17.6- to 39.7-pound barbells) from ground level to shoulder height to exercise your gluteus maximus, erector spinae, and shoulder girdle muscles.
C: During a vigorous, high-impact aerobic workout, maintain a heart rate at 70 to 85 percent of maximum performance, calculated as 220 minus your age.
Besides maintaining bone strength, the primary goal of exercise therapy in postmenopausal women is to increase muscle mass to improve balance and strength, important fall and fracture risk factors. This exercise program was successful among 48- to 60-year-old postmenopausal women with low bone mass. It consists of two 60- to 70-minute group classes and two 25-minute home training periods per week.
Warm up/endurance: For the first three months or so, increase walking and running gradually to 20 minutes to adjust to higher impact rates. You may add running games to promote unusual strain distributions under weight-bearing conditions. After three months, conclude this sequence with 10 minutes of low- to high-impact aerobic exercise with an increasing amount of intensity.
Jumping: Add jumping after six months of training. If you’ve suffered a vertebral fracture before, instead substitute walking for jumping to reduce the impact on your spine. After an introductory rope-skipping phase, you may attempt more complicated movements like closed-leg jumps.
Strength training: This dual-session program combines resistance machines in the first sequence and isometric exercises in the second.
A: First, perform 13 exercises on hydraulic resistance machines like seated rowing, back extension, abdominal flexion, and bench press that use all main muscle groups. Determine your one-repetition maximum (1RM), the maximum mass of a free weight or other resistance that a muscle group can move through the full range of motion with good form. Do this very cautiously to avoid vertebral fractures and increase intensity slowly. In the first three months, perform two sets of 20 repetitions at 50 percent of 1RM. After three months, do two sets of 15 at 60 percent. Following five months, complete two sets of 15 reps at 65 percent of 1RM. And after seven months, increase the intensity to 70-80 percent.
B: The second strength-training session consists of 12 to 15 different isometric exercises dedicated to your trunk and legs predominantly. Isometric exercise involves tightening a muscle and holding that position while maintaining tension. It’s helpful for people recovering from injuries that limit range of motion. Do three different belt exercises with 15 to 20 repetitions for your upper trunk. After seven months, switch to dumbbells and a weighted vest.
Flexibility training: Do this sequence before and after your strength workout and during rest periods. This stretching program consists of 10 exercises for all main muscle groups. Two sets of passive stretching exercises last over 30 seconds.
Home training sessions: Perform isometric, belt, and stretching exercises at home twice weekly for 25 minutes. You may add a rope-skipping program after 20 weeks.