Questions about Osteoporosis and Exercise

Neil Gonter, MD Health Pro
  • Below are questions and answers about Osteoporosis from Dr. Gonter:

    1.    I was just diagnosed with osteoporosis. What are the next steps to control it and steps for preventing further bone loss? Is there an exercise regimen that will make my bones stronger?

    Don’t despair. Understand that while bone mineralization is important in determining your risk of fracture, it doesn’t mean you will ever have one.

    There are numerous things one can do to cut their risks. One should always get their daily-recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D. It is important to engage in regular weight-bearing exercise as well as avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Finally, there are many different pharmaceutical agents available to decrease ones risk of having a fracture.
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    We are always in pursuit of the right drug that will make us live longer and healthier. Exercise, performed correctly, can do this well.

    Exercise is important for maintaining your posture and balance as well as slowing bone mineral loss. It can help maintain posture and improve your overall fitness. One must be careful to do them properly but only after consultation with your physician.

    Exercise works by keeping your muscles strong to support your bones, by improving ones balance and preventing falls and by directly stressing the bone in order to maintain its strength and mineralization.

    Weight-bearing activity consist of any type of movement that works on you bones and muscles to fight against gravity. The age-old saying, “use it or lose it” continues to remain true. Bone is constantly added and removed by a remodeling system of cells. When one is immobile, the body gives back the bone it does not need. One should exercise at least 4 times per week, for 30 minutes. Examples of these types of activities are:

    Brisk walking, jogging, hiking, dancing, aerobics, stair climbing, elliptical, racquet sports, and team sports such as soccer, baseball and basketball.

    If one already has osteoporosis or osteopenia, certain activities are not advised since they can precipitate a fracture. Risky activities include excessive forward bending, heavy lifting, twisting movements and high impact activity involving sudden starts and stops as well as abrupt weight shifting.

    Finally, one should not expect excessive increases in their bone density studies due to exercise. Exercise has a significant effect on decreasing fractures that is not accounted for by a large increase in mineralization.

    Important: We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.
Published On: September 12, 2006