Osteoporosis is a common disease that affects 1.2 million Australians, it’s where bones become brittle and more susceptible to fractures compared to normal bones. Osteoporosis is caused by the loss of minerals (such as calcium) at a faster rate than the body can produce, which causes a loss of bone density. Any bone can be affected by osteoporosis, but it is more prevalent in the hip, spine, wrist, upper arm, forearm or ribs. As bones decrease in weight/density, minor falls or bumps can lead to fractures leading to pain and debilitation. Unfortunately, this leads to people with osteoporosis being reluctant and fearful of exercising believing it will increase their chances of fractures, when in fact exercise is one of the most effective treatments for osteoporosis.
Exercise is becoming widely used to assist with osteoporosis, as research shows it can improve mineral density as exercise can modify the shape and size of a bone so it can become bigger and stronger which can prevent injuries. Additionally, exercise can increase the strength of the muscles around the hip and balance which can assist in reducing the likelihood of a fall. Approximately one-third of people over 65 falls each year and it’s estimated that around 6% of falls result in a fracture. This makes maintaining bone density and preventing falls an important health issue. But the bone remodelling process takes approximately 9-12 months to occur, which means to see improvements in bone strength, exercise should be maintained long term.
Exercise prescription should include:
- Weight-bearing exercise such as walking
- Progressive resistance training
- Balance & proprioception practice
We love helping people to maintain strength and independence well into life and we are here to answer your questions and help you find the best exercise program for you.