Name this chronic disease: primarily associated with genetics, mechanical factors, and hormonal factors, as well as primarily in the older age groups…and resistance/strength training is a highly recommended therapeutic option.

It’s osteoporosis, the most common bone disease and is characterized by weakening of bone tissue, bone structure, and strength, and may lead to an increase risk in fractures.  As the country’s largest population ages, more and more women and men are experiencing the effects of osteoporosis, whether from a small fracture or debilitating injury.  And while a certain about of “bone loss” is irretrievable, so much can be done to prevent, maintain, or even reverse it. 

Strength training is a proven therapeutic option for the preservation of bone and muscle mass.  But not all strength training is created equal.  With so many factors (not just genetics) impacting one’s risk of developing osteoporosis, it is recommended that everyone participate in some sort of strength program.  Nothing too complicated, just intentional.  Use the FITT principles!

So, what kind of strength exercises/movements are best for the prevention and maintenance of osteoporosis, specifically?  Resistance exercises are most effective, meaning those which require additional weight than one carries throughout the day or challenges a particular area with an uncommon move/stretch.  AKA: more than your typical load!  Examples of a variety of training modalities include free weights, weight machines, medicine balls, elastic bands, and different movement velocities (for example, yoga).  These types of exercises are also found to be most beneficial and effective when the additional load/weight/stretch is increased over time. 

Eight Basic Exercises :

Foot stomps

Bicep curls

Shoulder lifts

Hamstring curls

Hip leg lifts

Squats

Ball sit

Standing on one leg

Click the link above for more information about each exercise, specific yoga poses, and which exercises have been found to be LEAST beneficial for the prevention and maintenance of osteoporosis.

With any new regimen, it is always recommended you consult with your physician first, especially if you have already been diagnosed with bone loss.  They can guide you on your specific challenge areas, information which a certified fitness professional can then use to create a program right for you!

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