Osteoporosis is a disease that targets your bones, causing them to become brittle and fracture easily. One of the ways that you can prevent its onslaught is by taking in enough calcium in your diet, either through the food that you eat or via supplements. Another very good way of preventing osteoporosis is through exercise – either weight-bearing or resistance exercises. Read on to find out more.
What are weight-bearing exercises?
Weight-bearing exercises are activities during which you are supported by your body weight. Examples are running, walking and climbing stairs. It is recommended that, to obtain the best results, you run or walk between 5 and 8 km per week.
What are resistance exercises?
Resistance exercises are activities during which you work against the force of something other than your body weight, for example a free weight or the force exerted by water. To obtain the best results, it’s recommended you perform resistance exercises between two and three times a week.
Experts at Tufts University and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have developed the Growing Stronger exercise programme to assist people in building their strength. Specifically, these exercises will, for example:
- Build strength,
- Maintain bone density,
- Improve balance, coordination and mobility, and
- Reduce the risk of falling.
This exercise programme consists of five stages:
- Stage 1,
- Stage 2,
- Stage 3, and
- Cool down.
It’s recommended that for the warm-up, you either walk on a treadmill or outside for five – 10 minutes. The purpose of the warm-up is to direct blood flow to your muscles and prepare your body for the workout. If your muscles are loose and warm, they will respond better to resistance training.
Stage 1 of the programme consists of four different exercises, one of these being squats. It is recommended that you master the exercises in this stage before you start to add in the exercises described in stages 2 and 3.
Exercises in stage 2 of the Growing Stronger programme consist of:
- Bicep curl,
- Overhead press, and
- Hip abduction.
There are also four exercises in stage 3:
- Knee extension,
- Knee curl,
- Pelvic tilt, and
- Floor back extension.
The cool down consists of a number of stretches, e.g. of your calves and neck. While performing the stretches, make sure that you breathe through the stretch and concentrate on relaxing.