Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weak and can break easily. Fractures usually occur in the wrist, hip and spine, but can occur in any part of the body.
When the vertebrae begin to break or collapse people lose height and/or develop a stooped posture. About 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. Post-menopausal women are particularly vulnerable, but men get it, too.
Getting the proper medical treatment, enough calcium, Vitamin D, fruits and vegetables and regular exercise -- especially weight- bearing exercises like running or dancing and resistance -- are good for your bones.
Resistance exercises improve muscle mass and strengthen bones. Weight training with free weights and machines is the most familiar form of resistance training, but you can also use wrist weights, exercise bands and rubber tubing. Resistance training should be done about three times a week with at least a day of rest in between to allow the muscles to recover. When starting a resistance-training routine, you should have a certified personal trainer or physical therapist evaluate you, give you a routine and teach you proper form to avoid injury.
If you have osteoporosis, there are some exercises that you shouldn't do. These include bending from the waist (toe touches), sit-ups and twisting the spine to the point of pain. In both yoga and Pilates, many exercises can be modified to accommodate someone with osteoporosis.
The wesite for the Mayo Clinic, explains the osteoporosis risk factors, both the ones you can change, and those you can’t.
Some risk factors you can't change are:
- Getting older
- Being a woman
- Race (risk is greatest for Caucasian and Asian women)
- Family history of osteoporsis
- Body Size (risk is highest among those who are very thin or small frame)
- Medical conditions and treatments that affect bone health.
Risk Factors you can change:
- Low calcium intake....contributes to diminished bone density
- Tobacco use (quit!)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Excessive alcohol consumption
For more information about living with osteoporosis please visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation website.
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