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Exercise: Keeping Your Bones Healthy

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a major public health concern. Osteoporosis, as defined by a WHO Study Group, is “a disease characterized by low bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue leading to enhanced bone fragility and a consequent increase in fracture risk”. Osteoporotic fractures can cause morbidity, disability and mortality. The financial cost of fracturing a bone can be huge and an individual’s quality of life can be drastically affected. The good news? The negative impacts of osteoporosis are preventable!

Osteoporosis Prevention

Osteoporosis can be prevented and managed through pharmacologic interventions, nutrition and physical activity. In physiotherapy, our focus is to help people prevent and manage osteoporosis by promoting physical activity. Physical activity can help prevent falls and fractures in a number of ways:

  • Reduce bone loss and increase bone mineral density by stimulating bone growth
  • Increase muscular strength, agility, balance and postural stability
  • Improve/maintain posture

Postural and strength exercises can help manage the secondary symptoms that are often associated with osteoporosis such as back pain and reduced body height.

What exercises can help prevent and manage osteoporosis?

Weight-bearing exercises and resistance training help build bone, while the slow movements of T’ai chi help build strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. Although aqua classes are an excellent form of exercise, the pool supports your body weight so you’ll want to include some weight-bearing activities in your exercise program to help prevent osteoporosis.
So stay active and keep your bones strong!