Published on: 30/11/17
Osteoporosis is a condition characterised by a decrease in the density of bone, decreasing its strength and resulting in fragile bones. The bones are porous and compressible, like a sponge.
Risk factors include:
- Over-exercising and eating disorders
- Menstrual irregularities in teens and young adults
- Smoking and/or drinking too much alcohol.
- Age – The elite elderly (age 80 and up) commonly have porous bones
- Hormonal changes in both men and women in middle age
- Poor eating habits – lack of calcium
- Lack of sunshine – lack of vitamin D
- Medications such as those that treat lupus, asthma, seizures, and thyroid deficiencies
- Family History
- Fractures in the bone/s
- Decreased quality of life
- Lost workdays
- Up to 30% of patients suffering a hip fracture
- Elderly patients can develop pneumonia and blood clots in the leg veins that can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism) due to prolonged bed rest after the hip fracture. Osteoporosis has even been linked with an increased risk of death.
What can you do?
Staying active and exercising helps to strengthen muscles and improve overall bone health. There are two types of osteoporosis exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density:
- Muscle-strengthening exercises
Muscle-strengthening exercises are any activity that requires your muscles to work harder than normal, like lifting weights and /or using your body weight. This type of resistance exercise works the tendons that attach muscle to bone, which in turn boosts bone strength.
It must be stressed that all forms of physical activity will help to keep your bones fit for purpose and reduce the risk of falling. Good balance, co-ordination and stamina, as well as the confidence that comes from being regularly active, will all reduce your chance of a fall.
Pilates is an exercise technique that conditions the entire body. It can help people with weakened bones and prevent further injury by:
- Increasing bone density
- Increase muscle strength and muscle mass, allowing the body to support bones made brittle by osteoporosis
- Improves balance, which can help prevent falls that might result in a fractured bone
- Improves flexibility and posture, which can help keep the bones in alignment and prevent painful pinched nerves and muscle spasms in the back
‘I thought Osteoporosis was a woman’s condition, how wrong was I! I’ve discovered after the age of 50 1 in 5 men can break a bone due to low bone strength. It was recommended that I start Pilates. A year later I’m feeling stronger and confident in my body.’ A.M.
‘Pilates has improved my quality of life’ Jenny B
‘I’m no longer suffering from osteoporosis but osteopenia and look forward to being in the normal range in the future!’ N. Geary
‘After 4 years of 2 weekly Pilates sessions …………….. I had another DEXA Scan and the results were great.’ Susan D