Osteoporosis and exercise – Alternative Medicine Magazine


Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that causes bones to become weak and break easily. Osteoporosis affects mostly older women, but prevention starts when you are younger. No matter your age, you can take steps to build bone mass and prevent bone loss. Broken bones from osteoporosis cause serious health problems and disability in older women.. Osteoporosis affects approximately 10 million people in the U.S., 80% of whom are women, according to the Office on Women’s Health.

People with osteoporosis have bones that are weak and break easily. Osteoporosis is called a “silent” disease. You may have bone loss for many years without any symptoms until you break a bone. A broken bone can cause severe pain and disability. It can make it harder to do daily tasks on your own, such as walking. This bone condition is a major cause of disability in older women. The disease affects men and women of all races. But white and Asian women, especially older women who are past menopause, are at highest risk.

Good nutrition and regular exercise are essential for keeping your bones healthy throughout your life. Exercise can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss. Exercise will benefit your bones no matter when you start, but you’ll gain the most benefits if you start exercising regularly when you’re young and continue to exercise throughout your life.

As you get older, your bones don’t make new bone fast enough to keep up with the bone loss. And after menopause, bone loss happens even more quickly. But you can take steps to slow the natural bone loss with aging and to prevent your bones from becoming weak and brittle.

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D each day.
  • Get active. Choose weight-bearing physical activities like running or dancing to build and strengthen your bones.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking raises your risk for broken bones.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation (for women, this is one drink a day at most). Too much alcohol can harm your bones. Also, too much at one time or mixed with certain medicines can affect your balance and lead to falls.

If you already have osteoporosis, you might think exercise will lead to fracture. However, using your muscles protects your bones. Certain types of exercise strengthen muscles and bones, while other types are designed to improve your balance — and that can help prevent falls.

The types of activities often recommended for people with osteoporosis include:

  • Weight-bearing aerobic activities.
  • Flexibility exercises.
  • Strength training.
  • Stability and balance exercises.

Because of the varying degrees of osteoporosis and fracture risk, your health care professional might discourage you from performing certain exercises.

 

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