The forgotten weapon for fighting osteoporosis

May is National Osteoporosis Month, which is a perfect opportunity to brush up on the tools you might or might not be aware of for prevention. Nearly half of the female population in our country will experience a bone break as a result of osteoporosis, as will 1 in 5 men. While most of us think that drinking a tall glass of milk every day is the best defense, Jill Zahm, RN, MSN, nurse navigator, Parkview Center for Healthy Living, has a very important suggestion that you might not be practicing.

Calcium and vitamin D are the rock stars of healthy bones, but there is a third support that often gets overlooked – movement. There are two types of activities we consider important for building and maintaining bone mass and density: weight-bearing and resistance.

Weight-bearing activities are those in which you move against gravity while staying upright. Walking, stair climbing, dancing and jogging are examples of weight-bearing activities with different degrees of impact. Find one that you enjoy and will do regularly for 30 minutes most days of the week.

The second type is resistance. These include activities where you move your body, a weight or some other resistance against gravity. These activities include weight lifting (such as small hand weights), using elastic exercise bands, using weight machines, lifting your own body weight and functional movements (such as standing and rising up on your toes).

Strength training should be done two times per week. Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi can also improve strength, balance and flexibility.

It is important to be aware that certain positions may not be safe for people with osteoporosis or those at increased risk of fractures. Parkview’s Women’s Physical Therapy specializes in providing those at high risk of fractures an exercise program that is safe and appropriate for you.

Consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program. Contact Margaret Bronson, Women's Health Physical Therapy at (260) 266-4080 for more. 

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