Whether it comes after a broken bone or a low bone density reading, a diagnosis of osteoporosis spurs you rethink your relationship with exercise. So I need to take it easy or change my current activities to avoid falls and fractures? What exercises will help protect my bones? If I haven’t been very active in the past, how should I start?
An exercise program will not only make your bones more resilient, but also help you avoid falls and fractures and lower your risk for chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes – all of which are important in preserving your mobility and independence.
Talk to your health provider
Women with osteoporosis run the gamut from regular exercisers with a bone density reading just below the cutoff (a T-score of 2.5 on a bone density test for women ages 50 and over) to sedentary or disabled women who have already osteoporosis fractures.
Whatever your situation, it’s important to consult your health care provider or another health care professional with expertise in osteoporosis before you begin an exercise program. She or he will review your bone density measurements and evaluate your current fitness and activities. Bring a list of the medications you take; you may need to adjust or change those that can cause dizziness or affect your balance.
Before recommending a specific exercise program, your health care provider will assess your:
- Posture and gait
- Range of motion
- Muscle strength
You may be advised to add more rigorous exercise to your routine or substitute safer moves. If you’ve been inactive, a physical therapist can help design a program that takes into account your physical abilities and limitations.
Depending on your fracture risk, you may be encouraged to continue activities you already enjoy, although some activities , like running, jogging, high-impact aerobics, golf, bowling, racket sports, skiing, and figure skating may warrant discussion because of their potential to cause falls or put too much pressure on weak bones.