Updated: Jan 7
Osteoporosis and low bone mass are currently estimated to be a major public health threat for almost 54 million U.S. women and men aged 50 and older. Typically, when you're diagnosed with Osteoporosis or Osteopenia your doctor will recommend increasing your Calcium and Vitamin D intake, make changes to your medication routine, and suggest a reduction in alcohol and tobacco consumption. Less likely to be recommended, but beneficial in slowing the progression of low bone mass, is strength training. Although the understanding is limited as far as how much and how heavy, overall strength-based exercises have shown to reduce the risks (fragility of bones, high risk of fractures, etc.)associated with low bone mass. So, if strength training is an effective way to keep bone mass strong, why aren't more people doing it? Lack of knowledge/experience, fear of getting hurt or being embarrassed, and not finding it enjoyable are all popular reasons why many shy away from any type of strength training.
Although these concerns and fears are understandable, it's important to remember a few things:
You have to start somewhere.
It's okay to ask for help.
You have so many options!
No one knows what they're doing when they first start something new, so it's best to reach out to a fitness professional for help. A fitness professional, like a personal trainer, will be able to help you pick out exercises that are safe, and even enjoyable! There is so much more to strength exercises than spending hours on machines or lifting a weight over and over again. For example, brisk walking with light hand weights provides enough stimulus to potentially help prevent additional bone mass loss, particularly for a beginner. Another option are bodyweight exercises, like squats and push-ups, that can be modified to fit your fitness level. Of course, one of the easiest ways to make any type of exercise more enjoyable is to do it in a group! If you're at high risk for osteoporosis or have already been diagnosed, it's best to do these types of exercises within a small group of people, and with a highly trained personal trainer to explain each movement and help you correct your form in order to prevent injury.
SAFFP's FIT Program is a great option for any beginner wanting to have a happy, healthy body on the inside- and out!
Not only are these sessions a great way to make new friends and learn new things, but they will also help strengthen your bones and improve your overall quality of life. Book your first session today for free through the Fitness on Demand app. Visit our website to learn more details on the app and how to register for sessions.