When you have osteoporosis, exercise can be a very important component of strengthening your bones as well as minimizing your risks for falls through balance exercise. But before you begin any of your exercise programs, it’s necessary to get your doctor’s approval first. Your doctor will be able to help you with what exercises are going to work best for you depending on your condition, your age, and other physical constraints. Try out a few bone building exercises for better bone health.
Exercises for better bone health
While a few types of exercise are good for you, not all types are good for healthy bones. For example, weight-bearing exercises can build healthy bones. These exercises make use of your muscle strength against gravity and put pressure on your bones. As a result, your bones will signal your body to produce more tissue to build stronger bones. Exercises such as walking or swimming may be very beneficial for your lung and heart health but won’t necessarily help you strengthen your bones.
People with osteoporosis who are looking to enhance their bone strength can benefit from the following exercises.
- Foot stomps
The goal of exercise to reduce osteoporosis is to challenge the main areas of your body that are most commonly affected by osteoporosis, such as your hips. And the way to challenge your hip bones is through foot stomps.
- While standing, stomp your foot, imagining you are crushing an imaginary object underneath it.
- Repeat four times on one foot, then repeat the same on the other foot.
- Hold on to a railing or any sturdy piece of furniture if you have difficulty balancing yourself.
- Bicep curls
You can do bicep curls either with dumbbells weighing between 1-5 pounds or a resistance band. They can be done while seated or standing, depending on your most comfortable position.
- Take a dumbbell in each hand. Or take a resistance band while holding the end in each hand.
- Pull the bands or weights in toward your chest, watching the muscles of the biceps on the fronts of your upper arms contract.
- Lower your arms to come back to your initial starting position.
- Repeat 8-12 times. Rest and if possible repeat for a second set.
- Shoulder lifts
You’ll need weights or a resistance band to perform this exercise. You can do this exercise in either a standing or seated position.
- Take a dumbbell in each hand. Or a resistance band while holding an end in each hand.
- Start with your arms down and hands on your sides.
- Slowly lift your arms out straight in front of you, but don’t lock your elbow.
- Lift to a comfortable height, but no higher than the shoulder level.
- Repeat 8-12 times. Rest and go for a second set, if possible.
- Hamstring curls
Hamstring curls strengthen the muscles at the backs of your upper legs. This exercise is performed while standing. If necessary, place your hands on a piece of heavy furniture or other sturdy items to enhance your balance.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Slightly move your left foot back until only your toes are touching the floor.
- Contract the back muscles of your left leg to lift your left heel toward your buttocks.
- Control your left foot slowly as you lower it back to its initial position.
- Repeat the exercise between 8-12 times.
- Rest, and repeat the exercise on your other leg.
- Hip leg lifts
This exercise can strengthen the muscles around your hips as well as enhance your balance. Place your hands on a piece of heavy furniture or other sturdy items to improve your balance if required.
- Start with your feet hip-width apart. Put your weight on your left foot.
- Flex your right foot and keep it straight as you lift it to the side, no more than 6 inches off the ground.
- Lower your right leg.
- Repeat the leg lift 8-12 times. Return to your initial position and do another set using your left leg.
Squats can toughen the front of your legs as well as your buttocks. You don’t need to squat deeply for this exercise to be more effective.
- Start with your feet hip-width apart. You can rest your hands lightly on a sturdy piece of furniture or counter for balance.
- Bend on your knees to slowly squat down. Keep your back straight and bend slightly forward, feeling your legs working.
- Squat till your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Tighten your buttocks to return to your initial standing position.
- Repeat this 8-12 times.
- Ball sit
This exercise can help to promote balance and strengthen your abdominal muscles. It should be done with a large exercise ball.
- Sit on the exercise ball with your feet on the floor.
- Keep your back straight while maintaining your balance.
- Hold your arms out at your sides, palms facing forward if you are able to.
- Hold this position for as long as one minute. Stand and rest. Repeat the exercise two more times.
- Standing on one leg
This exercise enhances greater balance.
- With a sturdy piece of furniture or a wall nearby if you need to grab onto something, stand on one foot for one minute, if possible.
- Repeat this balance exercise with the other leg.
Exercises to avoid
Few activities, like hiking, jumping rope, climbing, and running, simply put too much pressure on your bones and increase the risk of fractures. Being high-impact exercises, they can put too much strain on your spine and hips as well as increase your risk for falls. They’re best to be avoided by people with osteoporosis.
Exercises that involve bending forward or rotating the trunk of your body, such as situps and playing golf, also maximize your risk for osteoporosis fractures.
Although exercise has been shown to have good bone-building effects in children and adolescents and bone-preserving effects in adults, it is just one component of a total program to prevent bone loss and reduce fracture risk.
Understanding individual risk for osteoporosis, such as genetic factors and family history, is necessary. A balanced, calcium-rich diet, sufficient Vitamin D, and a healthy lifestyle are also vital ingredients for lifelong bone health.