Dos and Don’ts for Osteoporosis
Maintaining bone density is achieved by a long-term routine load on our bones, which will return to pre-workout density when exercise is discontinued. To better keep what you have and avoid further losses, follow these rules:
DO exercise with foot weights every day. The other day, an osteoporotic client in the study asked her why she shouldn’t continue to do the plow in yoga, since being in that extreme push-up was certainly putting weight on her spine. In our case, bearing weight means standing. Rolling on your back not only doesn’t cut you, it can actually cause vertebral fractures. Just say no!
Work on your balance while standing as often as possible. The less you fall, the lower the risk of a wrist or hip fracture. The standing yoga poses and Standing Pilates® from the PhysicalMind Institute can be very helpful here.
DO resistance, cardiovascular, and flexibility training within safe guidelines.
Focus on spine and torso extension. As our bodies give in to gravity, we begin to rotate forward. It is essential that we constantly work to stay upright with a gentle squeeze of the shoulder blades and a pleasant lift of the sternum.
BE careful when sneezing and coughing. Many fractures occur from forceful coughing and sneezing. Try to stand or sit with your back against something.
DO NOT bend your spine forward. Don’t bend over to tie your shoes or pick something up off the ground. Don’t roll forward while getting in and out of bed. And never roll on your spine! Yes, spinal flexion is healthy for healthy bones. It is completely contraindicated for low bone density. As you can see from the fracture image, microfractures occur in the front of the spine and are irreversible. Do you want to look like a round ball all the time for the rest of your life? I know not!
DO NOT roll on your spine. I know, I say it again, but this is very important! And I’m afraid to tell you how many clients with osteoporosis I have seen who have received extreme flexion exercises by certified Pilates teachers in studios.
DO NOT twist the column with force. Be gentle with your spine. A brisk twist will hurt.
DO NOT do sit-ups or sit-ups! Remember the discussion about bending above? A good Pilates teacher can show you many abdominal strengthening alternatives.
DO NOT bring your leg to the side of the body (abduction). This is where many hip fractures have occurred.