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3 Exercise Routines That Promote Better Bone Health in Seniors

3 Exercise Routines That Promote Better Bone Health in Seniors

Joan Schnorf

There are 206 bones in the adult human body.

Each has been good to us in its own way. Collectively, they have helped us to stand, walk, and reach for the remote when a commercial comes on.

But if you’re not exercising, those bones are gradually wasting away.

More than 200 million people worldwide are affected by osteoporosis. Also known as Degenerative Arthritis – or porous bone – this disease is trademarked by low bone mass and structural deterioration of its tissue.

Regular exercise is the only real way to prevent it.

Here are some other things you may not have realized about your bones:

  • Bone is living tissue and exercise is necessary to maintain it and prevent its loss.
  • Bone mass reaches its peak in the third decade of life, and then begins to deteriorate.
  • Bone gets stronger in response to exercise.
  • Seniors who exercise are 61% less likely to break a bone.

That last point is a doozy. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 300,000 older adults over the age of 65 are hospitalized for fall-related hip fractures every year.

Regular exercise can keep you out of the emergency room. But proper form is essential to avoid a different kind of injury. A personal trainer can help you develop an exercise routine geared toward your weight, fitness level, and any health restrictions you may have.

He or she can also introduce you to the three following exercise styles that have been proven to promote better bone health in seniors.

Weight-Bearing Exercises

“Bearing” is the operative word, here. Weight or load-bearing workouts leverage your body’s resistance to gravity to help stimulate the development of osteoblasts, or cells that help bones grow. They are, by far, the most efficient exercises in developing better bone health for seniors. Examples include:

  • Climbing stairs
  • Jogging
  • Jumping rope
  • Step aerobics
  • Walking lunges

Lower-impact options can include:

  • Elliptical machines
  • Stair step machines

Strength/Resistance Training

Not only does resistance training promote an increase in muscle mass, but it also has been shown to help prevent the loss of bone tissue in women, and helps to improve our overall sense of balance.

Talk to your personal trainer about an exercise program that utilizes a combination of the following:

  • Weight lifting
  • Exercise bands
  • Push ups
  • Squats

Balance and Coordination Exercises

Techniques learned through practices such as Tai Chi and Pilates can be beneficial, fostering increased flexibility, strength, and steadiness on one’s feet. Like all exercises, however, they should be attempted only after consultation with your family physician and personal trainer. Older adults with osteoporosis are advised not to engage in exercises that require bending at the hip, to avoid accidental damage to the spine.

Speaking of balance, proper nutrition is also integral in the fight against osteoporosis, and should include ample intake of Vitamins D (milk and dairy) and K (green leafy vegetables), as well as calcium to promote strong bones. Supplements can be used if food allergy is present.

Better bone health in seniors – and for everyone – is something that you can start achieving today. Don’t delay. Use those metacarpals and phalanges (those are hand bones) to pick up the phone and call Fitness Together Ellicott City at 410-750-2228 today.

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