Exercise and Osteoporosis
I have Osteoporosis and have just joined a local gym. Can anyone tell me which exercises I should be doing and which ones to avoid please?
Hi Carol like you recently diagnosed,over the years I have gone to the gym,aerobic and many more but now I am just concentrating on walking as much as possible,I have ordered a weighted belt too, as weight bearing is important to strengthen out core.So I can't help with the gym but someone will soon,lots of help here....good luck
Thanks Jule777. The reason I’m joining the gym is because I need more motivation at the minute. I do walk but I knits not as much as I should so I’m hoping that the gym will give me the push I need.
Thanks and good luck
Your welcome Carol hope the gym helps, I know walking can be a bit boring but I plug the ear phones in and away I go,I do a circuit so I have a start and a finish,then adjust the distance to go further it's very rewarding....something to aim for.In my music I find it best to have a good mixture as the upbeat music will make you walk faster it's great....then a slow one comes on and i take it easy for a bit....but what ever you choose to do like me we will slow or reverse this OP😉
I generally have some shopping to do most days or a visit to the post office or a look in the charity shops, so quite often I combine errands with a longer/shorter pleasant walk beforehand and then a little more weight bearing carrying the bits of shopping back home. i have a variety of routes that I can choose from that lift my spirits.
Can you see a physiotherapist who has experience treating patients with osteoporosis? Sometimes hospitals run special clinics or bones workshops for people with OP diagnosis and a physiotherapist will be part of the team to give advice. One thing to be careful of is to protect your spine, and a physiotherapist will have good suggestions for this. It's also possible that one of the trainers at the gym will have some ideas, depending on their own training, so do ask. I'd suggest avoiding high impact until you've had a chance to be assessed by a knowledgeable professional, preferably a physiotherapist.
Weight bearing exercise is, as you know, essential. It can be a simple as walking. I'm not keen on the gym so I walk, and have also taken up Nordic walking (strengthens upper body and helps keep spine upright) Tai chi (helps develop good sense of balance as well as apparently even improving bone density) and wear a weighted walking vest to encourage my bones to grow stronger. I have a whole suite of physio exercises and a little yoga which keeps me flexible and helps maintain core muscles which support the spine.
Hi. Thanks for the really useful advice. It’s my spine that I am worried about so I will make sure to mention it to the instructor at the gym. That’s a good idea about Physio, I will call them tomorrow and try to get an appointment before I enrol at the gym. To be honest I have been offered no help or advice whatsoever so far . Just given a leaflet to read and absolutely nothing else. I was devastated at the OP diagnosis but it looks like I will have to deal with this myself. Still, I’m pleased that I found this group you have been very helpful. Thank you
I have never joined a gym so cannot advise. I go walking, tai chi, stretching exercises and hula hooping. I also do 15 minutes on the exercise bike, although not weight bearing, but for some kind of cardiovascular exercise.
I would think it may depend on what your T scores are and if you have fractured as to what you should/should not do at the gym but finding someone knowledgeable on the subject can be difficult to source.
Thanks for your advice. I really need to be more motivated and try more things. Tai chi, if there are classes around here sounds good. I’m just walking at the minute but after joining this group I definitely feel more positive. Thanks again.
Regarding the walking, I belong to a Simply Walks little group which meets one morning a week in the park near me. There are other Simply Walks in other nearby areas but as I do not drive, I just go to this one. I walk from home so that adds to the walk, I also go part of the way around the park before meeting the group at 10.00 so I leave the house at 9.30. There is a choice of a long/short walk. I joined about two y ears ago now and only do the short walk, lasting 40 - 60 minutes. I have a feeling the long walk (1.5 - 2 hours) is too up hill and down dale for me especially this time of year and also if they go on the flat, walk far too quickly for me. We have about 8 people in our short walk group and the long walk attracts about 30 or more people. We go for coffee afterwards and enjoyed a Christmas lunch with 43 of us - both groups together for that. Just a thought for you perhaps?
Here is a link to give you an idea about it: walkingforhealth.org.uk/wal...
I am very interested to hear about your hoola hooping Kaarina. I walk and run but cannot do any of the usual spine exercises as I have damage to my cervical spine from a car crash and lying on my front and raising my head puts pressure on my neck. Do hoola hoop exercises help strengthen the spine? I feel I am not doing enough for my osteoporosis in my spine and would love to hear more about your hole hooping.
I have been hooping for years. I am pretty sure even before I was diagnosed with OP in 2012. I enjoy hooping so continue to do it. I am not sure if it helps to strengthen my spine. I do not feel I have had any adverse effects from hooping. I do not do any fancy moves with the hoop on the arms/ankles or anything like that. My hoop is quite heavy and if it falls on my toes then I know about it! Ouch! It makes me feel good and is fun. It is so important to find some kind of exercise that one enjoys. Hooping can be done inside and outside in pleasant weather.
Thank you for that Kaarina. I have read that it helps give a slim waist so I'm sure it must help strengthen your core muscles which is always good
LOL Having lost 6 inches in height I need all the waist i can get. I must admit considering my height loss I am not doing at all bad in the area where my waist used to be ie no big bulges! ;)
You need to be careful, and make sure the exercises you do are the right ones for osteoporosis. It is worth while doing some Googling, and finding out if it's possible to see a specialist at a hospital near you. Try aftercancers.com - look up osteoporosis and there is info about how your GP has to refer you to a place you choose (even if it's not one of their 'preferred' choices). Also there is food for thought re treatment given to a dog - when are we going to benefit!
I must admit I’m googling like mad, so much to take in. I tried the website that you suggested but couldn’t find the information that you mentioned. My GP has never mentioned referring me to anyone but I’m hoping exercise and diet will help
Thanks for your advice
I think this is the link veriterc mentions above: aftercancers.com/osteoporosis/
This is the address : aftercancers.com/osteoporosis/
Thanks, it's a very interesting article
Hi- I go to yoga classes but am aware that you shouldn't flex your spine forwards- which means I don't do a lot of the poses/ positions.
Weight bearing is good, but don't do ANYTHING that is uncomfortable or you feel is pushing your body too much. There should be a trainer at the gym who would advise, and there are some .very good videos the Internet (YouTube etc) too.
Thanks for your reply. I think that the gym instructor is going to work out a suitable programme for me and at least I know what to look for now.
I’ve looked at YouTube and as you say there are some good videos there. The trouble is there is so much conflicting information everywhere you look regarding diet and exercise it’s hard to pick out the right path to follow. Thanks for your help and good luck.
Hi, I have recently been diagnosed and have joined a gym. I know that it’s important not to do high impact exercises. I do the elliptical machine followed by weights e.g. bicep curls, leg press. Avoid abdominal curls andbending forward. I also do spine strengthening exercises as advised on the NOS website. Best of luck 🙂
Thank you for your advice, it’s really helpful. I know I need to do more exercises as all I do is walk at the moment but I know I’ll find the equipment at the gym a bit scary now I’ve got the dreaded OP.
Here in Bristol we have a GP referral scheme for exercise to help people with health issues, may be worth seeing if there's something similiar in your area
I too am in the South West but in South Devon. There is absolutely no help for Osteoporosis as far as I can see but next time I am at the DRS I will definitely ask. Thanks for the info
Hi Carol. I went to the gym a year ago. I find that few if any Personal Trainers are qualified to help with osteoporosis so Herons suggestion to go to a good physio is perfect but if following up in the gym you really need a personal trainer to ensure you do exercises with good form. I'm in a rush now but I'll look up and get back to you with the websites I found useful. Definitely Nationa Osteoporosis Society was good as they have exercise booklets. I walk with a weighed vest Specifically made for women. Not only can you walk with it but you can use in on a rebounder, dance with it, do housework and gardening and walk a few hills and even use when exercising in the gym when doing safe exercises with good form. I do Pilates but there is definitely studies done which prove certain yoga exercises build bone if you cannot find a tai chi class nearby. Nordic walking also very good.
I would be very interested to see which sites you thought were helpful. I agree the NOS one is very good. Can I ask which weighted vest you use please?
Hi. I have found that the physio Margaret Martin is a very good source of information specific to those with osteoporosis and fractures. Website is melioguide.com and she has a book called Exercise for Better Bones.Unfortunately she is based in Canada, but I believe she can do sessions via Internet.
Hi Christopher. Thank you for recommending Margaret Martin. I have just ordered her book and signed up for her emails. She has so much information and it seems very straightforward, just what I needed, so thanks again
Yes she gives very specific exercise and lifestyle advice depending on your fracture risk etc .... I was diagnosed about a year ago and have yet to find anything better.
NOS recommended physios would definitely be a great help in the UK ... perhaps Margaret Martin could train a few!
Good luck with the exercising
Thanks Christopher. I’m looking forward to reading her book and giving the exercises a try. I think you’re right about our Physio’s - at least the ones at my local hospital. Honestly they just weren’t interested. I feel more positive about exercising now though so fingers crossed they help. That’s the trouble, you just don’t know if they’ve made a difference for ages. Thanks again and good luck to you too.
I use an iron wear vest, specifically made for women. It’s American but Sports Thieme sells it in the UK. The Canadian website osteoporosis.ca has an excellent exercise programme on their website “Too Fit To Fracture”
Sounds good Jessie I will check out the website, but unfortunately I read that if you have curvature of the spine the weighted vests are not suitable.
That is interesting, PatsyCline. What was the reason(s) given as to why the weighted vests would not be suitable?
I don’t know whether they said Karina. I will try and find the article.
Well I can’t find the article in which I read it, but I spoke to a NOS nurse and she said there was no evidence that a weighted vest helped strengthen bones.
An article that I read recently gave the results of an experiment where women stood for a minute on one leg 3 times daily, an experiment with a group of women just under 68 years of age by a Japanese researcher K. Sakamoto in 2008. After 1 year doing this the bone density of their hips increased by 58%! 10 years later none of the ladies had broken a hip, even among those who did not continue with the exercise protocol. A small study but a broken hip from a few would have been expected in that time period. To my mind I think that gives a clear view that weight bearing exercises work. Why else are we told to do weight training for our bones? If overweight we are not recommended to use a weight vest as there is enough weight on the bones contrary to light framed ladies who are predisposed to osteoporosis as they don't carry enough weight! I'm not a scientist but this seems like common sense to me. I've been looking into posture training recently as I've really only realised the importance of it and mine is not good. I've read that with proper upright posture the heavy weight of our actual head increases the weight on our spine. I've bad posture since my teens and obviously lost out on that. Wearing a weighted vest when you have already a curved back would be loading weight on your neck and possibly lead to pain I imagine.
Why Flamingoes Don't Get Osteoporosis
Thanks for your reply. I went to see a physiotherapist today and to be honest, although she was very nice I think that I knew more about Osteoporosis than she did! She was very young so I would imagine that she was quite inexperienced on the subject, but there were no specific exercises, no leaflets, no recommended reading or advice other than "take it slowly with the gym equipment" I was so disappointed
I am very interested in your post and all the helpful replies Carole-P. I am going to see an NHS physiotherapist in a few weeks and I am afraid my experience will probably be the same as yours. I have had absolutely no help from the NHS whatsoever.
PatsyCline I really hope that you have a better experience than the one that I had. It can’t be the same everywhere surely? Will you let us know how you get on please? Wishing you luck x
Thanks Carol. I will let you know.
Hi Carol-P. I went to see NHS physio yesterday. Told him I had come because I had osteoporosis and wanted help with appropriate excercise etc. The first thing he asked me to do was touch my toes!
A waste of time then? His and yours? Or did you get any satisfaction teaching him a few facts about OP?
I did say I it wasn’t advisable to bend forward to touch your toes. Oh were did you get that from he said. I told him the NOS and a Pilates class especially for osteoporosis. As I was getting back and also neck pain (probably due to too much time on the iPad!) he did give me some excercises and one did include an upwards flexion of the spine. It is so difficult to know exactly what you should be doing as everyone is different and is at a different stage of the disease. I even worry when I am doing modified Pilates. I am to go back in 2 weeks and he will discuss gym excercises.
Do let us know how you get on after your appointment in two weeks.
When I went for my physio appointment I was told to bend forward towards my toes as far as I could reach, and like an idiot I just did it! What was going through my mind I don't know. I think I was so disappointed at the advice I was being given, I just wanted to get the appointment over with and leave. I hope that you have a better experience at your next appointment. At least the physio will have some time to do some research on the subject! Let us know how you get on. Good luck
I am sorry but cannot say that I am surprised, Carol, that it was a waste of your and her time. We gear ourselves up for these appointments to often be disappointed and even cross at the outcome. I am sure that you did know a lot more than her about OP.
I have to say that after following a couple of forums for a couple of years it's almost as though the health care system isn't really designed to help sick people.
I completely agree with you. I can’t understand why there is not more support from GPS and Physio’s etc.
I honestly thought that I was doing the right thing by seeing a Physio ( in my neck of the woods we can refer ourselves. I don’t know if it’s the same elsewhere) As I said before, it was a total waste of time
I guess, unfortunately, it's the luck of the draw. The physio I had after I broke my leg was not a waste of time but the therapist was totally uninterested (a young man) and even said something about people who had "real" injuries - as though a tibia that had snapped because the knee was twisted sideways, also causing a lot of soft tissue damage, wasn't a "real" injury. But the physiotherapist I've seen since PMR has been a real miracle worker.
Here we can refer ourselves, but if you want your health insurance to cover it we have to be referred by a physician. There is also physio offered through hospitals, covered by medicare, but the waiting list is ridiculous and I don't need to go that route so we use our health insurance (husband's retirement benefits).
I belong to the Polio Fellowship, and they have a helpful list of polio specialists at hospitals around UK. Perhaps the National Osteoporosis Society could produce a list of those physios/hospitals/fracture nurses with an interest in Osteoporosis? I am sure it would help us all.
I am sure we are all in agreement with you Any help in being pointed in the right direction to those in the medical world with a special interest in osteoporosis would be most beneficial.
I see you have lots of replies. One thing I want to add to the 'avoid spinal flexion and high impact' is to avoid excercises that compress the spine. When I had knee surgery years ago I used a machine that I lay on and put my legs on a moving vertical surface and pressed hard to increase my strength in my legs . A machine like that would put compression on the vertebra and potentially crush them if your bones are crumbly. I mostly use walking, I have a weighted vest which gets the weight up onto my spine to improve density (don't use it as much as I should as I've had shoulder and wrist problems)- a backpack would do the same thing. I also do brief interval training on a static bike - there is evidence now tht very brief sessions of intense exercise do a lot of good - 90 sec warm up, 30 secs almost flat out, so can't sustain it, repeat three times. If your trainer doesn't know about osteoporosis then they should study the issue before they give you advice, otherwise ask for someone else. Remember you need exercise for increasing bone density but also for general fitness and cardio vascular health. And to improve mood- so dont forget to chose a programme that you enjoy.
Hi Lois, thanks for all the good advice. I haven't actually started the gym yet as I have had lower back pain which I am sure is worse since I saw the physio but I will be able to go now (hopefully next week) armed with some really good advice from this group
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