Exercise Safety Tips for People with Osteoporosis

Exercise is important for people with osteoporosis as it can help improve bone density in addition to strengthening the muscles. Osteoporosis can cause the bones to become brittle and lose density which makes them more likely to break, so it is important for people with osteoporosis to do everything they can to strengthen their bones. When exercising it is important for seniors to make sure that they are being safe so that they will not get injured. In this article we would like to offer some exercise safety tips for people with osteoporosis.

The first thing that people with osteoporosis should do is consult their doctor before beginning any exercise programs. Many doctors recommend a bone density test for those with osteoporosis which can be used to determine which exercises will be the most beneficial. A bone density test should ideally be done before starting any exercise programs because doctors can advise their patients which exercises are safe for them based on fracture risk, age, medical history, medications and physical condition. Beginning an exercise program before consulting a doctor can often lead to injuries from falls such as fractures or broken bones.

People with osteoporosis should also ask their doctor if it is safe for them to engage in high impact exercise. High impact exercises can often be dangerous for those with osteoporosis because the physical activity from high impact exercises puts excess pressure and strain on the body in areas such as the spine, hips and legs. Some examples of high impact exercises are running, jumping and jogging. Those with osteoporosis do not necessarily have to avoid these exercises at all cost but it is best to consult a doctor before engaging in any high impact activity. Slower movements are usually best for those with osteoporosis so seniors should try walking or using an elliptical machine at the gym. Those that are at risk for vertebral fractures should also avoid exercises that put too much stress on the spine. Many exercises that might seem safe because they are low impact can put excess stress on the spine and cause vertebral fractures. Some examples are golf, tennis, yoga, rowing and sit-ups because all of these activities require bending or twisting the spine. Regular activity is not usually harmful to the spine but adding extra stress beyond what a normal daily routine would require can potentially be harmful.

Another important safety tip to keep in mind is that seniors should pay attention to their body. Seniors that experience soreness for several days after exercising should ease up on their routine and work on building up to a more strenuous work out. Overworking the body can be very dangerous and can potentially cause injuries so seniors should make sure that they avoid overexerting themselves. Seniors who experience unusual pain or discomfort should visit their doctor to make sure that they have not injured themselves in any way.

People with osteoporosis should also consider visiting a physical therapist. Physical therapists can help by developing safe exercise plans for seniors and showing them how to properly do each exercise activity. Over time seniors can work with their physical therapists to increase the difficulty of their exercise routine. It is important that those with osteoporosis do not overexert themselves and seniors with a physical therapist helping them will be better equipped in knowing when they are ready to change their routine. Many physical therapists also have experience working with patients with osteoporosis so those that are newly diagnosed can definitely benefit from having extra assistance as they begin an exercise program. Family caregivers can help by talking to their loved one’s doctor to get recommendations for a good physical therapist and can also go with their loved one to meet the physical therapist so that they will be comfortable. Many people with osteoporosis benefit from weight training and physical therapists can act as a spotter for patients so that they will not drop their weights and get hurt. Family caregivers can also help their loved ones with this at home in between trips to the physical therapist.

Following these tips is a good way for people with osteoporosis to avoid injuring themselves. Family caregivers can help their loved ones with their exercise routine by exercising with them to keep them motivated and to help monitor their routine to prevent injury. It is important for those with osteoporosis to understand the specific limitations of their body so that they do not injure themselves while exercising. Those with further questions or concerns should always contact their doctor as it is always best to be cautious and safe.

For additional articles about exercise and osteoporosis in our home care blog: