Suffer from osteoporosis? We spoke to fitness guru and personal trainer Jess Neill from JN Fit, to find out which resistance and weight bearing exercises strengthen brittle bones
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body’s ability to build new bone is slower than the rate of bone loss. This causes the bones to become brittle, weak and fragile, and as a result, makes a person more susceptible to breaks, fractures and joint pain.
As we get older, our bone strength gradually decreases. Generally we hit our “peak” BMD (Bone Mineral Density) capacity around the age of 30, after which we can only try to maintain that level as our bodies use them.
Here's how to keep your bones healthy and strong
The more BMD we have when we reach our “peak", the thicker and stronger our bones are and the more stores we have to use into old age.
We can build up our bone density prior to the age of 30 by partaking in regular resistance training, eating plenty of dark leafy greens, legumes and protein, and getting a daily dose of sunny Vitamin D to help with calcium absorption. Post-menopausal women tend to see the greatest losses in BMD due to the reduction of oestrogen.
But what happens if you’ve already been diagnosed with Osteoporosis?
Don’t worry! The good news is you can maintain your current BMD levels and give your body the best chance at replenishing its stores again by eating calcium rich foods, getting daily Vitamin D and partaking in certain types of exercise, including walking, jogging, tennis and resistance training.
I’ve included a breakdown of the best types of resistance exercises according to the severity of the Osteoporosis (your doctor will be able to advise which is most suitable for your circumstance). Do be careful when starting out to avoid causing injury to yourself.
Best Exercises for Osteoporosis
You should include free-weights where possible to help work on joint stabilisation, mobility and balance.
Weighted Step Ups
Cable Lat Pulldown
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Bent Over Row
You should use machines to assist in stabilising the body until you build enough strength for free weights.
Machine Shoulder Press
Machine Leg Curls + Leg Extensions
High Level Osteoporosis
With a very high risk of fractures, it’s best to start with weight-bearing exercises and light resistance band work, and build up to doing some machine work later, once your muscle mass has increased a bit.
Sit and Stand
Walking Up Stairs
Low-Intensity Dance Classes
Seated Band Rows
We hope you found our exercises for osteoporosis helpful. We've got plenty more fitness workouts for you to try. Feeling a bit nervous of hitting the gym? Try our at-home workouts to ease yourself into it. Or if you're keen to start Pilates, here's all you need to know. We've also got some great back pain and bodyweight workouts for you to try too. Enjoy!