“I recently joined a gym for the first time. I’m 62 year old female with osteoporosis t score of -2.5. Although I received short training for the equipment, I’m not sure which machines I should be using to most benefit osteoporosis. Do you address this question on your web site? Your web site is wonderful! Thanks, Rainell “
Congratulations on joining a gym! Exercise has a beneficial effect on our health including the reduction of our body fat, increased aerobic power, stronger heart and lungs, and increased strength.
Thought it is generally accepted that exercise is an important factor in maintaining bone density, many studies on the effect of exercise on bone health have not had the same conclusion. Some have shown that the rate of bone loss is the same or worse than non-exercisers.
When bones undergo a loading force, they respond by remodeling and adding skeletal mass. Therefore the exercises that are most beneficial in maintaining bone mass are those that are load-bearing. This generally is in the direction of the long axis of the bone.
For example, holding a 5 pound weight in you hand is not necessarily increasing your bone density. Lifting the weight over your head though, will load your wrist, forearm, upper arm, shoulder, spine, hip and legs.
Other exercises that have been shown to increase bone mass in the hips and lumbar spine are endurance exercises like walking, jogging, and stair stepping.
Exercises I recommend for osteoporosis:
1. Hold a 5 pound weight in each hand at shoulder height, lift toward the ceiling and repeat 12 times.
2. Now hold the weights with your hands crossed across your chest. Sit on a weight bench. Stand up and sit down 15 times.
3. Lie on your back on the bench. Hold the weights at your chest. Push the weights to the ceiling, return to the start position.
4. Stand with the weights in your hands. Lunge forward with the right leg, then return to feet together. Lunge forward with the left leg, then return to feet together. Repeat 10 times.
Remember that vigorous intensity exercise is better than moderate intensity exercise when trying to build bone mass, but even moderate intensity exercise can slow the rate of bone loss.
Doug Schrift is a Physical Therapist, Certified Geriatric Specialist, and senior fitness coach. Doug helps seniors become strong and stable even if they have never exercised before.
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