If you are 50 years and older, Osteoporosis should start becoming an important topic for you. Osteoporosis is now such a common term we forget how much of a concern it should be for both you and the community.
More common in women, with 30% of 50 years olds affected and up to 70% of 80-year-olds. For men – the prevalence is much lower at 25%.
Osteoporosis and its biggest side effect – bone fracture – cost society almost as much as heart failure and breast cancer. Shockingly 50% of women over 50 and will suffer a fracture from osteoporosis in their lifetime.
Fractures of the hip, spine and wrist are the most common fracture sites for osteoporosis.
Treatment of osteoporosis is predominantly managed by taking medicines, however, exercise has been shown to be very effective adjunct in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis and is always recommended medically.
What exercise is best? Why walking isn’t enough.
Generally, impact exercises (ie. weight-bearing) are thought to have the greatest positive effect on bone density. Resistance training has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Walking is often prescribed for those with osteoporosis, as an exercise to increase bone density, however, a study in 2008 found that walking only impacted the bone density at the head of the femur, and not at the spine. Physical activities involving impact forces (running and jumping) tend to have a better effect on bones and reduce the risk of fracture. Interestingly, even athletes from non-impact sports, such as swimming and cycling, have lower bone density than those in other sports.
Studies suggest that exercise should also address osteoporosis-related deformities of axial posture, so as to decrease the risk of fall and fracture. Muscle-strengthening decreases immobility-related complications, decreases fragility, and can prevent fall and fracture. Exercise of course has many other health benefits.
As with pharmacotherapy, therapeutic exercises should be individualised. Physios are ideally placed for managing clients with osteoporosis in a safe, effective and evidence-based manner. Physiotherapists can effectively use clinical exercises for patients with osteoporosis.
Our Clinical Exercise and Performance programs at SquareOne are both ideal to start, maintain and progress an ideal exercise program that will improve bone density and also work on other areas of your body needing help at the same time.