Osteoporosis or ‘porous bones’ is a disorder in which the density and quality of bone are reduced. It is often termed the ‘silent pathology’, as a person may not be aware they have it until a bone breaks. Breaks, or fractures, are most commonly seen in the thoracic spine (middle of your back), hip or wrist. Osteoporosis is more common in females post menopause, due to a decrease in oestrogen. In women from the age of 45 years, bone loss begins then accelerates at the onset of menopause. By 6-7 years post menopause, bone density has reduced by 20%. Post 70 years, females have lost 30-50% bone mass and men have lost 20-33%.
Drinking, smoking, lack of vitamin D, lack of exercise and a diet low in calcium may also predispose one to osteoporosis. Asians and Caucasians are more susceptible to osteoporosis than Hispanics and Africans.
What can you do to prevent or manage osteoporosis?
Regular physical activity and exercise plays an important role in maintaining healthy bones, especially if it is weight bearing as this promotes bone growth. Exercise is recognised as one of the most effective lifestyle strategies to help make bones as strong as possible, reducing the risk of fractures later in life. As well as improving or maintaining bone mineral density, exercise increases the size, strength and capacity of muscles.
Physio-led Exercise or Pilates, especially reformer based, is an ideal form of exercise for people with osteoporosis and for osteoporosis prevention alike. Weight bearing can be achieved on the equipment with spring resistance, and the exercises are controlled and balanced.
Osteoporosis Australia recommends that older adults and people at risk of osteoporosis participate in varied and supervised exercise programs, including weight-bearing activities, progressive resistance training and challenging balance and functional activities, at least 3 times per week.
If you think you could benefit from reformer-based Physio-led Exercise, contact us today on 8555 4099 for a consultation or Book Online.
Written by Physiotherapist Kelly Gailis