Increasing Bone Strength – Exercise for Osteoporosis

This article looks at Osteoporosis and how common it is in Australia. Throughout 2017-2018, 3.8% of the population were diagnosed with Osteoporosis, which adds up to around 924,000 Australians. Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder, where bones become fragile, weak and brittle, which can lead to a higher risk of fractures from minor bumps or accidents.

Common risk factors for Osteoporosis include:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Ageing, resulting in reduced testosterone and oestrogen
  • Menopause
  • Previous fractures
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Insufficient Calcium and Vitamin D intake

While accepting these risk factors, there are however some types of exercise that are classed as Osteogenic and can reduce the risk of fractures and Osteoporosis.

Progressive Resistance Training (PRT)

  • PRT is the most effective strategy to improve skeletal muscle mass, size and strength, and thus should form the basis of any exercise programs designed to reduce fracture risk.
  • Two days per week of 2-3 sets with 8 repetitions per set and 8 exercises per session should be the aim.

Impact Loading

  • Impact loading is a form of osteogenic exercise, consisting of movements that expose bones to load and stimulate bone growth in fast, novel and multidirectional ways.
  • Exercise should be completed 4-7 times per week, consisting of 10-50 repetitions per day, working up to 50 repetitions split up across 5 sets.
  • Some examples of exercises include:
    • Moderate impact activities:
      • Running
      • Stride jumps
      • Jump rope, side steps
      • Highland-type dancing
      • Jump take offs and hops
    • High impact activities:
      • Landings from jumps
      • High vertical jumps
      • Star jumps
      • Truck jumps and drop landings

Balance Training

  • Our senses that contribute to balance decline due to the natural ageing process, but it is possible to slow the decline in function or even improve their integration.
  • Exercises should incorporate both dynamic and static balance activities aimed at reducing the risk of falling and therefore the risk of fracture.
  • Balance training should be performed 4 times per week for around 30 minutes, before or after PRT or impact loading sessions.

For advice or assistance to prevent, treat, manage or reduce the risk of Osteoporosis, get in touch with an accredited exercise physiologist today.