In the new UK consensus statement on physical activity and exercise for osteoporosis which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
“inactivity should be avoided, physical activity encouraged“
I can’t emphasise enough how important this statement is, there are very few health conditions where exercise is not a good thing but in the case of osteoporosis having it can make you fearful about doing activity due to fear of fracture.
The key points for people with osteoporosis and the exercise they should do are
(1) resistance and impact exercise to maximise bone strength;
This is going to be very person specific depending on their level of osteoporosis but anything that is weight bearing will help. The consensus recommends stamping, jogging, low-level jumping or hopping for people who don’t have vertebral fractures or multiple low trauma fractures.
You could try this exercise sheet by the Royal Osteoporosis Society
(2) activities to improve strength and balance to reduce falls;
Such as these strength and balance exercises for older adults by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists Stay Active at Home – Strength and balance exercises for older adults
It is key that to increase strength then progressive overload must be part of the programme, this means once you can lift a certain amount of weight for a certain amount of repetitions then that weight needs to be increased to ensure progression continues (i.e if you can lift 1kg weight for 10 bicep curls, can you lift 2kg weight for 5 bicep curls).
(3) spinal extension exercise to improve posture and potentially reduce risk of falls and vertebral fractures.
For this look at exercise 4 on the exercise sheet by the Royal Osteoporosis Society
Summary of exercise recommendations (from Royal Osteoporosis Society).
If you have osteoporosis and would like to do some exercise but don’t know where to start then I run two classes in the Chichester area which focus on exercises to help increase strength, improve balance and reduce the risk of falls. More information about the classes click here
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