If you have osteoporosis, you might be worried that becoming active will lead to a sports injury. The good news is that exercise is good for your overall bone health.
However, when you’re living with osteoporosis, you must take care to choose the right types of activities. Some exercises help build and maintain bone density, while others could put you at greater risk for a fracture.
How can you work out safely and prevent a sports injury?
Low-Impact Weight-Bearing Exercises
Low-impact weight-bearing exercises are safe for most osteoporosis patients. Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians often recommend activities to keep the bones strong, including:
- Doing low-impact aerobics
- Walking outside or using a treadmill
- Using elliptical or stair-step training machines
Also known as resistance exercises, muscle-strengthening exercises involve moving your body or a weight against the force of gravity. A number of resistance exercises can keep your bones strong and help prevent a sports injury. For patients with osteoporosis, muscle-strengthening exercises can be beneficial, including:
- Lifting free weights or using weight machines
- Using elastic exercise bands
- Exercising in water
Exercises Osteoporosis Patients Should Avoid
High-impact exercises are risky if you have osteoporosis, as your weakened bones are more susceptible to fractures from direct force and excessive strain. To reduce your chances of suffering a sports injury, your physical medicine and rehabilitation physician may advise against the following exercises and activities:
- Jumping rope
- Stair climbing
- High-impact aerobics
Bending and twisting exercises and movements may also increase the likelihood of a broken bone in osteoporosis patients. Also, golf, bowling, situps and certain poses used in yoga and Pilates can create compression fractures in your spine.
Tips to Prevent Sports Injury
Developing healthy habits can help protect your bones from injury. Eating a well-balanced diet is key. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products and fish are particularly good choices for osteoporosis patients, as they help build bone health. In addition, smoking is discouraged, and alcohol consumption should be limited.
Balance is also crucial for osteoporosis patients. Get your vision and hearing checked regularly, and you may reduce your risk of falling when you’re out being active.
When you exercise, make sure to wear the appropriate footwear for your chosen activity and warm up before you start. Give yourself a chance to rest between sessions — resting can help osteoporosis patients avoid sports injuries related to fatigue and poor judgment.
Before beginning any new exercise program, it’s always a good idea to consult with a local physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. If you’re living with osteoporosis, schedule a consultation to discuss ways to prevent sports injury.