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What can you do to prevent osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a common bone disease presenting with low bone density and increased risk of fractures which typically affects people later in life. While many of the risk factors for osteoporosis, such as age, gender, and genetics, are beyond your control, there are proactive steps that can be taken to prevent and manage this condition and reduce the impacts it has on your life. In this article, you’ll find out what you can do to prevent osteoporosis, and how to manage the symptoms.


Prevent osteoporosis through strength training

Understanding Osteoporosis

Before delving into the role of strength training, it's important to understand the basics of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis occurs when the body loses too much bone mass, makes too little bone, or both, leading to bones becoming weak and brittle. This increases the risk of fractures, particularly in the spine, hips, and wrists, which can have serious consequences for overall health and quality of life leading to a lack of mobility and confidence.


What is strength training

Strength training involves performing exercises that challenge your muscles against resistance, such as weights, resistance bands, or your body weight. Whilst strength training is often associated with building muscle and improving physical strength, it also plays a crucial role in maintaining and improving bone health, making it an excellent strategy for preventing osteoporosis. You can take a look at our full guide to strength training for more information. A few of the key benefits of this style of training which are most relevant to those worried about osteoporosis include:


Increases bone density 

Strength training exercises exert mechanical stress on the bones, stimulating bone-forming cells called osteoblasts. Over time, this leads to an increase in bone density and strength, reducing the risk of fractures associated with osteoporosis.


Improves muscle strength and balance

Strong muscles and good balance are essential for preventing falls and reducing the risk of fractures altogether, particularly in older adults. Strength training helps build and maintain muscle mass and strength, which can improve balance, stability, and coordination, lowering the risk of falls and fractures. Here at GymX, we build tailored programs for those over 60s focusing on increasing your strength for everyday movements as a fundamental, ensuring you increase your mobility. This increase of functional capacity can have a huge impact on people’s lives with tasks such as lifting, climbing the stairs and bending gradually becoming far easier and putting less strain on the body. 


Promotes joint health

Exercises that target the muscles around the joints can help improve joint stability and mobility, reducing the risk of injuries and joint degeneration associated with osteoporosis.


Exercise for over 60's with osteoporosis

Where to start with strength training for osteoporosis 

Before beginning any new exercise program, particularly if you have osteoporosis or other health concerns, it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider or a qualified exercise professional to ensure safety and suitability. It’s good to choose a trusted personal trainer to work with to build you a buildable and sustainable program with support along the way, here at GymX, working with over 60s is one of our specialities and we’ve seen what an impact exercise can have on conditions such as osteoporosis. 


If you're new to strength training, start with light weights or resistance bands and focus on mastering proper form and technique. Once you’re happy with how to properly perform the exercise safely, you can gradually increase the intensity and volume of your workouts as you become stronger and more confident. If you’re working with a personal trainer, they will be able to build this into your programs so that you always stay safe and within your limits. 


Weight-bearing exercises, such as squats, lunges, and step-ups, are particularly beneficial for bone health as they place stress on the bones, stimulating bone growth and strengthening the lower body.


Balance and stability exercises, such as single-leg stands, heel-to-toe walks, and balancing exercises, can help improve proprioception and reduce the risk of falls, which is particularly important for individuals with osteoporosis.


Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise, and adjust your workout intensity, length and frequency accordingly. If you experience pain or discomfort, stop the exercise and consult with your personal trainer and they will be able to help you. 


Strength training for osteoporosis

Strength training programs can be tailored to individual fitness levels, health conditions, and goals, making them suitable for people of all ages and abilities. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced lifter, there are strength training exercises and modifications to suit your needs. With consistency, dedication, and the correct guidance, strength training can play a vital role in maintaining strong and healthy bones for years to come.


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