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Weight training for osteoporosis

Updated on March 6, 2016


As people grow older Osteoporosis can determine your quality of life, this can be said for both men and women. Osteoporosis particularly in women can start because of the decrease in estrogen, which helps protect bones. The risk of fracture, with Osteoporosis, comes with the brittleness and weakness which sets in, making bones more porous.

Calcium is taken as an addition to increase bone strength, to help fight the Osteoporosis. The body, however, cannot absorb the extra calcium intake, which goes to waste, not affecting the Osteoporosis.

Exercises such as free weights and basic weight bearing have demonstrated the increase in bone density and absorb calcium correctly, strengthening bones and fighting against the onset of Osteoporosis.

Weight bearing exercise helps to reinforce bones by causing the muscle and tendons to pull on the bones, which encourages bone cells to produce more bone. This can be created by your own body weight, when you walk, run or jog and by combining weight exercises with dumbbells or gym machines formulated in a weight training program.

High impact exercise has been shown to be the better exercise. Allowing a jolt to the muscle and bone, for instance, during running, lifting or pushing a weight with force from a fixed position. (Safety is of great importance at this particular point, depending on age, ability and current level of onset Osteoporosis).

Loss of balance in the elderly can cause bone fractures and breaks. Strength and balance are barriers against falling. A sensible training program, that is well structured such as a weight program. This can develop and maintain overall body muscle strength, core strength, balance and flexibility.

Most effective exercises are:

  • Jogging and running
  • Gymnastics
  • Aerobics, includeing step, dance and pump aerobics
  • Weight lifting, including dumbells, barbells, machines, body weight exercises
  • Team sports with running and throwing (non contact) e.g. basketball, football
  • Individual sports involving running e.g. tennis, badminton and squash
  • Walking, hill walking, rambling and hiking

Even though bone loss is felt in the hips and spine with a crippling effect, exercise based on the lower body, such as running, is equally important. The risk of falls as we age becomes more common, making exercise more paramount.

Extremes of exercise mainly aerobic exercise, can affect bone density negatively in women, interfering with estrogen levels and combined with low calcium intake and poor diet. All put together can exaggerate Osteoporosis, resulting from excessive or extreme weight bearing training.

All training programs should be structured to suit the individual, based on ability and current condition, by a fully qualified exercise professional.

© 2010 Helen Bolam


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