Osteoporosis and Exercise: Hi Everyone I'm new... - Bone Health

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Osteoporosis and Exercise

Christopher1962
Christopher1962
30 Replies

Hi Everyone

I'm new here, so in brief I am a 55 year old male diagnosed earlier this year with osteoporosis together with multiple vertebral fractures.

I find the advice from the NOS very useful, but would be interested to hear what anyone with fractures / osteoporosis does to try and keep fit and mobile ... my fractures were the result of jogging whilst unaware of the condition, which makes me a bit wary of doing anything that could risk further fractures.

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HeronNS

I am sure NOS has advised you to avoid impact activities. Probably walking is your safest bet, but I know that swimming is also helpful. Not because it builds density directly as weightbearing exercise does, but because it can strengthen your muscles, and the muscles in turn exert a pull on the bones, which makes them stronger. You may also find Nordic walking helpful as it improves upper body strength.

There is a kind of weighted walking vest you can get which will over time help your vertebrae to rebuild density. In your situation I would get medical ok first. The kind I have can be worn with as little as a couple of ounces of weight and each additional ingot adds only a couple of ounces. I believe seven ingots equals one pound.

This is the kind I have. An old link, so I hope the style is still available. I had to order it from Texas but it has been well worth the investment. You would definitely want a kind which increased the weight extremely slowly in tiny increments.

osteopenia3.com/Weight-vest...

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Christopher1962

Thanks that's all very helpful. .. I think of swimming as non load bearing, but I was missing the other benefits.

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HeronNS

Yes, I didn't know about that either until I was brought up to speed by someone who can't walk unassisted any more, and she does pool exercises.

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Kaarina

Hi Christopher,

I am sure you must feel gutted to learn that your fractures were the result of jogging. Osteoporosis is often called “the silent disease” because bone loss usually occurs gradually over the years without symptoms.

Walking is the best all round exercise for me. Slow weights is excellent exercise so I hear if you can find anywhere in your region that does this and an instructor who knows about osteoporosis. I have yet to find anywhere near me where this is happening. I enjoy (hula) hooping and tai chi which is good for balance. I enjoy gardening too.

I hope you find some kind of exercise that you enjoy doing as that is very important as well as being as fracture free as is possible.

Have you had your Vit D levels tested?

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Christopher1962

Hi Kaarina. Yes it was whilst trying to get fit that I did the damage ... first time early 2014 and then again about 15 months ago. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! Since the diagnosis I have been walking but not much else - so it's time to gradually try new things. I'm on Alendronic Acid & Calcium / Vitamin D supplements, so hopefully the next dexa scan will show some improvement.

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Kaarina

Hi Christopher, would cycling suit you? It is non weight bearing but as a consultant pointed out, if you go up hills then that is pretty weight bearing and if you cycle with your bum raised off the seat, so to speak, he claimed that was definitely weightbearing. ;)

I wish you well. :)

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Christopher1962

😁 I may try an exercise bike then, but cyclists I know seem to come off their bikes on a regular basis so will avoid the roads for now.

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Kaarina

I have used an exercise bike daily since 2008 after a total knee replacement operation but have to watch something on i player or I would find it far too boring. I only do 15 minutes each day mainly for cardiovascular exercise now. I have got my exercise bikes from a local Free cycle network. People appear to buy these bikes and never use them for long so then wish to get rid of them. I wore the first bike out but soon found another one on Free cycle.

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ITYFIALMCTT
ITYFIALMCTT
in reply to Kaarina

:) Likewise, being on an exercise bike bores me rigid but I do it for 30min sessions, 6/7 days a week so I tend to resort to watching something or perform simple tasks that just require me to read and click a button.

I do it as the warm-up for my other exercises.

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ITYFIALMCTT

Like Kaarina - I use an exercise bike but indoors only, I would no longer ride outdoors (sadly). :)

I agree that it's unfathomably difficult to find appropriate advice on fitness and exercise given how common osteoporosis is and the number who would benefit from some helpful guidelines.

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joebooth

Hi Christopher

Thanks for posting this question which is one I have been intending to ask. I'm a few years older (63). Like you, my first fracture was from jogging. Several more were caused by no more than walking faster than usual when I thought I was recovering from my 'bad back'. When I was diagnosed, I discovered that my osteoporosis is severe (less than -5, with some vertebrae below -6) which makes me nervous about doing anything other than walking.

Before I was diagnosed, I did Pilates for several months which was great until I did some exercises unsupervised, watching a YouTube video, did too much twisting and broke another vertebra. It was that one which caused me to demand a scan which revealed OP.

Any form of twisting is therefore out of the question which makes me nervous about swimming. Nevertheless, I'm conscious that I could do more to build up the strength of other muscle groups and to improve flexibility.

I believe that Tai Chi and Pilates are probably both good for us but without someone who really knows what they are doing I would be reluctant to try. I'm guessing that I need to try very simple exercises which I know are within my limitations and build up slowly from there.

If anyone knows an expert in exercise for people with osteoporosis, I would be interested to hear.

Do keep posting your experiences.

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Kaarina
Kaarina
in reply to joebooth

Hi Joe,

May I ask how old you were when you unfortunately caused your first fracture from jogging. I ask because my daughter and son both jog/run now (middle/late 30's) and started a couple of years or so and, naturally, love it. Although I think it is great they exercise, I do worry inwardly about them perhaps causing fractures later in life, mainly because my mother had OP and I have been diagnosed with it too about 5 years ago.

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joebooth
joebooth
in reply to Kaarina

Hi Kaarina

I was 59 years 11 months. I know because the first day of back pain is seared into my memory (and it was Easter Sunday!) I had probably done the damage a couple of days earlier but, of course, I can't be sure it was that.

I am a great fan of running which I miss a great deal. I would certainly urge everyone who can to take part. How can you avoid OP-based fractures? Presumably, only by having a DEXA scan every so often but without some symptoms, I guess you would have to pay for the scan.

If you keep fit through running then it will help in building bone and muscle strength. In my case, I was starting to get fit again after a long lay off because of an unrelated hamstring problem. But my bones turned out to be so brittle that something was going to get me eventually!

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Kaarina
Kaarina
in reply to joebooth

Hi Joe,

Thank you for replying. I can appreciate how you really miss running at the moment. I guess you would definitely have to pay for a dexa scan if you have no symptoms. I had a DEXA because I had lost a lot of height. That was my symptom. :( Have you "met" ianwoowoo, another runner who has posted on the forum? healthunlocked.com/boneheal...

Look after yourself and I wish you well. :)

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Christopher1962

Hi Joe. Thanks for sharing your experiences. ... it's unnerving to think how much damage can be done from such innocuous activities. Have your t scores improved yet, or were you only diagnosed recently? There is a physio called Margaret Martin who has written quite a lot about exercise and osteoporosis, but she is based in Canada. Someone similar but closer to home would be ideal to supervise any new activities and make sure that you weren't putting yourself at risk of further fractures.

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emcmartay

Margaret Martin offers online interviews. I keep intending to book one or two.

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Christopher1962

I would be very interested to hear how you get on if you do .... she seems to have a wealth of knowledge regarding all the levels of OP and is very positive about exercising - even if you have fractures.

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emcmartay

It will be a while as we are in the middle of moving and our new home will take weeks before we get internet -rural Scotland!

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SarahMWolf

We know that exercise is a topic that so many people ask questions about and yes, please do give us a call if you have any worries 0808 800 0035. We're also running a survey at the moment about the questions people have about exercise so if you'd like to take part, please do nos.org.uk/news/2017/june/1...

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scd2211

I too am very interested to know how best to exercise and I have put forward questions on exercise in this NOS survey. I walk outdoors when I can and go to the gym about 3 times a week. I walk on the treadmill at an incline of 4 at 6km an hour for 30 mins, do 10 mins on the Power Mill (stepper) which gets my heart rate up and use the machines for leg exercises and then do pilates type exercises on the mats. I do a Conditioning for Wellness class to strengthen my core and other parts of the body but get frustrated because I have well established osteoarthritis in my right hand and wrist which prevents me doing a lot of upper body exercises. I am also conscious now that abs crunches are risky for spinal osteoporosis even though I have done them for years.

Question to the NOS: Do you have any idea when you might be able to give more advice on safe exercise following this survey? Thank you so much for all you do.

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ITYFIALMCTT
ITYFIALMCTT
in reply to scd2211

I'm likewise curious to know this. There are grades of OP and I suppose that both the degree and location might influence the advice - and it might be quite tricky to provide guidelines that are clear to follow but have appropriate nuance.

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Maggie6

Hi all, For exercise I have invested in a fit bit which is a watch that can link to a phone or iPad on which I record my steps every day . I also record what I eat to make sure I am eating enough calcium rich food.My aim is to walk 10,000 steps a day but I am finding that it's pretty addictive so try to do more than 10,000 .Since getting it I have walked the length of all the Hawaiian islands ( without seeing a volcano) and the full length of Italy ,according to my Fitbit statistics.

I also go to Zumba gold classes as dancing is good for coordination, balance and bones and attend a pilates class where the instructor is osteoporosis aware and makes sure that there are alternative exercises at different levels for those of us with osteoporosis ( I am not the only one) .

My GP has refered me to the local council gym where they run an exercise programme for people with health issues and I was assessed by a level 3 instructor who has written me an exercise routine which I try to do at the gym 3 times a week. I have also bought the book "beat osteoporosis with exercise" by Dr Karl Knopf. isbn :978-1-61243-555-8 which describes its contents as "a low-impact program for building strength,increasing bone density and improving posture. There are 300 step-by-step photo showing how to do the exercises and I just do the ones that I feel able to do.

I won't know if all this is doing my bones any good until my next dexa scan, which is over a year away, but at least it makes me feel more in control of my health and wellbeing.

Wishing all strong and healthy bones 😃

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Debbietilbee

Hi Maggie6,

Are you managing your osteoporosis without meds? I've only recently been diagnosed and am still feeling sooo confused! My doc hasn't prescribed meds as I suffer badly with reflux and she has said she wants to try me on diet and exercise for two years and then re scan. Trouble is I'm confused with what exercise is safe - as I've read things that say people fracture just by walking. I'd love to give Zumba a go, but again, too afraid of what may happen. If I hadn't broken my wrist in April I'd have had no idea that I've even got osteo and would be living my life as I used to. But now, I'm paranoid about every pain in any bone in my body in case I've broken something without realising. X

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Maggie6

Hi Debbietilbee,

My case is different to yours as I have never broken anything (yet) although I fell about a month ago marching down a steep slope and threw my only coffee of the day all over myself.(serves me right , coffee is bad for your bones) As I laid on my back I though I had really done myself a mischief but I managed to get up and hobble home.I carried on exercising ,gently and found that aqua blast at the local pool was a god send as that was the only time I was pain free. I was bruised and sore for a couple of weeks but now I'm back to normal.

I started having 3 yearly dexa scans when I was 53 as my Mother had osteoporosis and my GP wanted to keep a check on me. My first 2 were fine and then after my last I was recalled and told I had OP given a script for meds and that was it. I was in shock ,didn't even know what T scores were never mind what mine were. I got the meds read the contraindications and looked up load of stuff up on line .Found this forum and asked for advice which was the best thing I could do. Then went back to my GP armed with questions...that she couldn't answer .She referred me to a rheumatologist,who I thought would give me options like diet and exercise .I waited 5 months for an appointment and during that time I worried about every ache,every pain, every click of my hip and I looked at what other people had written and how they coped. My appointment arrived and I found the only alternative to tablets that I was given was an infusion.By then I'd found out my T-scores which compared to many are very good.My hips are -1.5 which is in the osteopenia range and my spine is -2.9 in the osteoporosis range.I decided not to take medication (yet) I am giving the diet and exercise route a chance.If I can keep my bones from getting worse by doing this I'll be happy.If when my next dexa scan comes ,my bones are much worse I will look at taking medication. All I can say is if you go down the diet and exercise route it takes commitment.For me It has taken some lifestyle changes, cutting down the coffee to one cup a day has been difficult as well as giving up alcohol,but on the plus side I feel a lot fitter and have lost weight.If you are not used to doing exercise start slowly.Look at ways to improve your balance , posture and strengthen your muscles. Do a little every day and when you find it easy do a bit more and keep on going .Zumba gold is great because it is not as energetic as full blown Zumba but it is fun.There are many in my class in their 70's who are fitter than me.

sorry to have rambled on but hope it's helped.

Wishing you strong and healthy bones. 😃

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Debbietilbee

Wow - that has helped me loads. Thank you for your encouraging words. Our scores are pretty much identical. I don't like the thought of the side effects of the medications on offer and would be delighted if I could lower or maintain the scores using diet and exercise. I'm glad I'm not alone in worrying about every twinge. X

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CHINASUE2015

I was referred to hospital gym and there on to local authority gym via hospital referral scheme they give me 1 to 1 sessions with trainer. The support has been excellent

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Dubba61

Hi Christopher that sounds painful. I had a fractured hand last Summer and was referred to a specialist. Diagnosis was Osteopenia. Which is slightly better than Osteoparosis. I Swim and also bought a Step and light weights. Which I use in front of TV during the ad break Apparently the idea is to build up bone strength. I'm told Walking is good too and anything that is weightbaring. I am 62. Good luck

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Christopher1962

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Sounds like you are doing a good balance of activities to maintain bone strength.

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Dubba61

Well i do my best Christopher and that's all we can do. At present i have a very sore foot as a neighbour ran over it in her Car! Had X-RAY and lucky it's not broken. So im sat with my foot up n feeling sorry for myself at the moment.😓

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Christopher1962

Ouch that must have hurt! Wishing you a speedy recovery so you can get back into your exercise regime.

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