How to exercise for bone health

How to exercise for bone health teaser
In Australia 1.2 million people have Osteoporosis and a further 6.3 million are known to have low bone density.  So, what can we do about it?

Osteoporosis is a condition effecting the strength of bones and increases your risk of fractures. Throughout your life your bones go through a constant cycle of being broken down and rebuilding. When they are broken down faster than they can repair themselves a decrease in bone density occurs, weakening your bones. 

Unfortunately there are no symptoms, so sometimes until we have an accident and break a bone we may not even know there was an issue!

What increases your risk of developing Osteoporosis?
  • Age – the risk increases as we age. Women have an increased risk after menopause.
  • Family history
  • Lifestyle factors – Physical inactivity, inadequate calcium intake, low vitamin D, smoking and excess alcohol consumption
  • Other medical conditions – a variety of medical conditions and treatment can increase your risk.

Regular exercise will play an important part in keeping your bones healthy.  Exercise will stimulate your bones to remodel to withstand the load you are placing on them. It can also improve your balance and coordination, reducing your risk of falls and strengthen your muscles and joints, giving you more support!

To have an impact on your bone density you will need to include weight bearing exercise in your exercise routine. This includes exercise when you are on your feet and working against gravity such as brisk walking, jogging, running, stair climbing and skipping.

Your routine should also include strength or resistance training using your body weight, dumbbells, resistance bands or other pieces of equipment. 

If you do suffer from Osteoporosis your exercise program may need to be altered to ensure if it safe and you are not at risk of injury. This may include avoiding high impact activities or activities that have an increased risk of falls. If you have any questions you can speak to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist for an individualised exercise program suited to your needs.
Carly Luff
Exercise Physiologist
360 Health + Community
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