Osteoporosis is a medical condition that weakens the bone, making them fragile and more likely to break. Doctors worldwide recommend weight-bearing exercises exercise for osteoporosis patients. Now, let’s talk about the benefits of weight-bearing exercises for women, the best exercises you can do from home, and how you can start.
Why You Should Fight Muscle Weakness?
You should know that osteoporosis is a common disease. In fact, a study shows that one in two women break a bone due to osteoporosis. The disease cannot be diagnosed and can only be noticed when a patient breaks a bone or drastically reduces in height.
Of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about eight million or 80 percent are women. This serious and costly disease cannot be cured but can be prevented or properly managed (if you have it already)
You might break a rib from coughing or sneezing if you are a patient of osteoporosis hence the need to prevent or manage it properly. Osteoporosis is a common disease in post-menopausal women.
If you want to prevent muscle weakness and common diseases, an easy way to start is by doing exercises. This article combined with your doctor’s advice will go a long way.
Before we start let’s explain the fundamental,
What is Weight-Bearing Exercise
Weight-bearing exercises are ones that make your bones and muscles work against gravity while staying upright on your feet. In weight-bearing exercises, your feet and legs bear the weight. The name is deceiving, right? You don’t actually need weights to engage in weight-bearing exercises.
How does it work?
Your bones adapt to the weight and pull of the muscles during weight-bearing exercise by building more bone cells and becoming stronger, this action makes your bone stronger and increases your chances against osteoporosis.
Benefits of Weight-Bearing Exercises?
Strengthening Bones and Muscles
This is especially important because it can help you feel less joint stiffness as well as increase flexibility. Moreover, this type of exercise improves balance and as a result, the chances of falling will be much less.
Increase bone density?
If you were wondering if weight-bearing exercise increases bone density, the short answer is “Yes”.
Weight-bearing exercises have been shown to significantly increase bone density. Many kinds of research have been conducted to confirm this fact and as expected the result is always affirmative.
According to Mayo clinic, when you exercise the endorphins released by an effective workout can reduce pain. Moreover, by losing weight and improving flexibility and mobility you can ease the stress on your joints.
Other benefits of weight-bearing exercises?
Asides from working directly on the leg, hip, and lower spine to slow mineral loss, weight-bearing exercises also provide cardiovascular benefits good for the heart and lung health.
These exercises have also led to an increase in overall strength, flexibility, and balance.
Examples of weight-bearing exercise
There are two categories of weight-bearing exercises: Low-impact and high-impact weight-bearing exercises.
Low-impact weight-bearing exercises help keep bones strong and healthy without putting much strain on your joints.
Examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercise are:
- Bouncing on a mini-trampoline (rebounder)
- Low-impact aerobics (use a rebounder for lowering the jarring effect on the joints)
- Using the elliptical machine
- Using the stair climber
- Fast-walking on a treadmill or on the floor
- Light gardening
High-impact weight-bearing exercises on the other hand help build bones and keep them strong at the same time. Caution should be taken before engaging in high-impact weight-bearing exercises though. If you are at high risk of breaking a bone or have already broken one due to osteoporosis, you may want to avoid these kinds of exercises.
Examples of high-impact weight-bearing exercises are
- High-impact aerobics like jogging/running
- Jumping rope
- Stair climbing
Yoga and Pilates are also good examples of weight-bearing exercises that improve strength, flexibility, and balance. However, some poses in these exercises are not safe for people with severe cases of osteoporosis. For example, bending forward might break a bone in the spine.
It should be noted that some exercises like swimming and cycling are good for muscle building and not bone strengthening. Over-engaging in such exercises might lead to bone mineral density loss in the long run. If you would like to engage in such exercises, they should be combined with weight-bearing exercises to make your routine balanced.
How can I do weight-bearing exercises at home?
Since weight-bearing exercises are mostly exercises that combine aerobics plus strength training, doing them at home is easy. I’d list some exercise you can do right in the comfort of your sitting room or garage.
- Using a rebounder
You can get a rebounder, if you don’t own one already, and get a good amount of exercise daily without thinking of leaving your home. Most rebounders are foldable making them consume less space in your home—a good option if you are short on space— and some are even portable making you’re your best travel companion. Most importantly is also provides other great health benefits.
- Using the elliptical machine
The elliptical machine is also a joint-friendly piece of gym equipment that can be used right in your home. The elliptical machine is fast replacing the treadmill because of its low-impact. Besides, research has proven that it delivers as efficiently as the treadmill.
- Using a stair climber
A stair climber is another machine that is joint-friendly. It delivers all the benefits of traditional stair climbing without having much impact on the joints. It is very beneficial for those who don’t have a staircase or are scared of the impact of hitting their foot against the hard surface of the stairs.
- Using a treadmill
A treadmill delivers high-impact exercises so caution should be taken before using it. However, if you are lucky to have a treadmill at home, light walking on it is a good weight-bearing exercise.
You can also use a jump rope on your porch if you have enough space there. Jump-rope is also a high-impact exercise so you might want to see your doctor before engaging in it.
Yeah! Put your headphones on and sweat it out by dancing. The good thing about dancing is that there are no specific sets of motion you have to follow. You can choose any style, no one is watching. However, dancing is also high-impact so you should exhibit caution while engaging and besides some dance moves might affect or even break your bone.
Things To Consider Before Getting Started
Personally, I would recommend rebounding as the weight-bearing exercise you should perform. Research has proven the positive benefits of bouncing on a mini-trampoline in women. The research showed significant improvement in balance, gait performance, strength, and bone mineral density in the women who engaged in rebounding.
I believe you will enjoy this type of exercise which is fundamental for a successful workout routine.
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Before you get started on any exercise routine though, you might want to consult your doctor about any medical problem you might have that might limit your exercise program.
Osteoporosis is a common disease that has been affecting women for a very long time now, it is responsible for two million broken bones and $19 billion in cost every year. Proper exercise is sure to help prevent you from rampant disease.
However, you should know that exercise is just only a part of the equation. A well-balanced diet and certain lifestyle changes also go a long way in the fight against osteoporosis.