Strength Training for Bone Health

Over 4.74 million Australians over 50 years of age have either osteoporosis, osteopenia or poor bone health. That number is expected to rise to 6.2 million in the next five years. 

Osteoporosis is a condition that involves the weakening of bones, increasing the likelihood of fractures. It is commonly diagnosed by a bone density scan. Results will categorise bone health within a range of normal, osteopenia or osteoporosis. Osteopenia is defined as having lower than average bone density which can develop into osteoporosis if not addressed.

Who is at risk?

Bone loss naturally declines from the age of 30, often exacerbated through hormonal changes (menopause), smoking, physical inactivity, insufficient vitamin D/calcium intake, family history and low body mass index. Two-thirds of women over the age of 60 years old will have osteoporosis and one-sixth of men over the age of 60 years old will be affected. Common fracture sites include the hip, spine, wrist and ribs. 

Exercise is extremely important in preventing, treating and managing osteoporosis. Benefits include improved muscular strength to support the skeleton, improved balance to reduce the risk of falls and reduce age-related bone/muscle loss.

Aim for 40 minutes of exercise per day for 4-5 days per week. Include weight bearing exercises, moderate strength training (back muscles), low-moderate aerobic exercise and balance activities. Bones must be adequately loaded from different angles to promote bone modification and adaptation, so try movements such as climbing stairs instead of walking to get the most out of your exercises.

Strength training is beneficial for osteoporosis as it applies a controlled force to the bones. This can be a bending or compressing force and in response the bone will lay down new bone cells to increase density.

Strength training at Kieser is a low risk exercise with many benefits to clients with osteoporosis as it is:

  • Low impact
  • Completed with slow movements
  • Supervised by an Exercise Physiologist
  • Can slow the rate of bone loss or even increase bone density
  • Can address bone loss in specific areas – i.e. lower back or hip
  • Can reduce risk of falls by building strength
  • World Osteoporosis Day: 20th October 2017 is World Osteoporosis Day, dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease.

To help raise awareness for World Osteoporosis Day, we are offering a NO GAP initial Exercise Physiology appointment in October 2017 for anyone who has not yet seen an EP at Kieser. Call your local Kieser centre to book your appointment today. 

If you're concerned about your bone health, visit your Exercise Physiologist today to discuss the right exercise program that is tailored to your specific needs.

 

Article written and sourced by Pia Batten & Nicole Shue, Exercise Physiologists at Kieser Malvern

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