By using free weights, weight machines or resistance machines, you can improve your strength in the bones in your arms, legs and spine, and limit future injury to these bones. When your muscles pull on bones, the bones become stronger, so the stress actually improves bone density. This is true of weight-lifting exercise performed before and after the onset of osteoporosis.
Weight-Bearing Aerobic Exercise
Weight-bearing exercise refers to exercise done on your feet, wherein you bear the weight of your own body instead of sitting down. This includes walking, jogging, eliptical machines, stair climbing machines and some everyday activities like dancing or gardening. With these activities, your own weight is being supported by your bones, causing them to become stronger and slowing mineral loss.
Strengthening and Balance
Some strengthening exercises also improve balance. It is important to maintain balance with osteoporosis, as a fall can be much worse if you have low bone density. With regular strength training, muscle control and balance will be maintained to prevent falls due to osteoporosis. Exercises that are aerobic, weight-bearing, and include a great deal of movement are best for improving balance. Some examples are martial arts, jogging, walking and dancing.
Preventative Strengthening Exercises
It is crucial to begin these types of strengthening exercises and to remain active in order to prevent the onset of osteoporosis. By keeping bones strong by avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, you can actually limit mineral loss and maintain bone and muscle control for longer. While it is helpful to begin strength training even if you have osteoporosis, preventative strengthening exercises and regular physical activity of any kind is crucial as well.
If you feel your osteoporosis has already limited some of your physical mobility, or if you have not exercised for an extended period of time, it is wise to first consult your doctor to get a good idea of what your body will be capable of. A bone density test could be helpful in assessing what types of exercise will be safe for you.