Osteoporosis Exercise Myth Busted

by Suzanne Andrews

Scouring the internet the other day, I was amazed to find an incredulous osteoporosis exercise claim. 

Some misinformation I came across is "ankle weights are dangerous for people with osteoporosis." 

Not correct.  Not only is the person who wrote that misinformed, they are doing people with osteoporosis a disservice.  Without going into all the medical jargon: here's the skinny on ankle weights with osteoporosis.  

Evidenced based exercises that my physical therapy and occupational therapy colleagues (and yours truly) teach patients in therapy sessions utilize ankle weights. Using weights with osteoporosis is not a contraindication. Quite the opposite. 

Your bones react to stress you place on them and that reaction is increased strength and cellular density.  Simply put - weights are a good stress and ankle weights help make your bones stronger.   

You have to be the judge as to how much weight you place on your ankles.  If you're just beginning, you can start without any weight and increase to 1 lb as you get stronger.  Gradually increase the weight according to your tolerance level.  

If you have osteoporosis, it's  also vital you strengthen your balance to prevent yourself from a fall and fracture.   Here's an exercise to give you stronger balance that is taught in physical therapy.  

STRONGER BALANCE (from Get Stronger Bones DVD)

Find a straight line.  
March slowly lifting your knee and making sure to place one foot directly in front of the other on the line.  
Land so your front heel is touching your back toes.
Reverse going backwards.  Do 1 set of 12.
It's harder than it looks!   

ADVANCED

In therapy, we will grade up a patients exercise program when they are increasing their skills.  One of the ways we do this is to have them perform the exercise on an uneven surface such as the grass.  Being a little off balance when you do this actually kicks your balance muscles and balance (proprioception neurons) into high gear and gives you stronger balance!   

If you're unsure of your balance on an uneven surface, make sure to have someone standing right by you for safety.

 

FUNCTIONAL FITNESS: GET STRONGER BONES WITH SUZANNE ANDREWS

 Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.

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