5 Exercises for Preventing and Treating Osteoporosis


Aug 20
Fitness Trends 2016

What is Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is by definition by the Oxford Dictionary a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D.

The precursor is osteopenia, a bone condition in which decreased calcification, decreased density, or reduced mass occurs.

With osteopenia, you are more likely to fracture a bone if you fall than a person with normal bone density and less likely than someone with osteoporosis.

Through out life, old bone cells break down and new ones grow. With the onset of osteoporosis, new cell growth does not keep up with the old cells breaking down.

Less bone mineral density (BMD) results. If left untreated, osteoporosis leads to frail bones that can fracture with a bump or fall.

bone health

Testing your Bone Health

BMD is the measurement of minerals within your bones. The higher the mineral count, the stronger the bone.

A BMD test is the best way to test your bone health.

A DXA test or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry is performed at the hip and spine. It is painless like an x-ray.

Bone Density Test

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women over age 65 should have a bone density test and those at high risk for fractures.

The task force also recommends an individualized approach. If you think you are at risk, talk to your doctor to see if you should have a BMD test.

Osteoporosis Causes

There are many risk factors. According to the National Institute of Health, there are some you can change and some you cannot.

Factors You Cannot Change:

1.  Gender. Women get osteoporosis more than men

2.  Age. The older you are, the greater your risk.

3.  Body size. Small, thin women have a higher risk

4.  Ethnicity. White/Asian women are high risk. Black/Hispanic women are lower risk.

5.  Family history. Osteoporosis tends to run in families.

Factors You Can Change:

1.  Hormones. Low estrogen levels in women. Low testosterone levels in men.

2.  Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can lead to osteoporosis

3.  A diet low in calcium and vitamin D

4.  Some medicines increase your risk

5.  Lack of exercise or long-term bed rest can cause weak bones.

6.  Smoking

7.  Drinking too much alcohol

woman running in woods

Preventative Diet Measures

According to the Mayo Clinic, one should include strength training and weight bearing exercise along with adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D

Start with your diet. An efficient and healthy body must be fed the right fuel. 

Good sources of Calcium:

1.  Whole fresh cheese

2. Leafy kale (add it to your smoothies)

3.  Broccoli whole

4.  Canned sardines

5.  Almonds and brazil nuts

6.  Supplement (Multivitamin by NOW is my favorite)

Calcium Recommendation

I did not include dairy products other than cheese on my list. Those foods break down into sugar causing insulin spikes which can lead to Syndrome X a precursor to Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation for a complete listing of foods rich in calcium.

salmon able2know.org

salmon able2know.org

Good sources of vitamin D:

1.  Salmon, fresh wild caught Pacific

2.  Egg yolks

3.  Canned tuna

4.  Supplements

The NIH recommends 600-800IU for adults aged 19 and over.

The Exercises

Start with a daily log of your exercises whether it's walking with light hand weights or doing some strength training. It's a great way to measure your progress and keep you motivated!

Weight bearing exercises don't mean you will bulk up like a body builder or have to perform bench presses at a maxed out weight.

Exercises using bands or your own body weight are a great place to start. When you're ready to progress, try adding light dumb bells.

Remember, more isn't necessarily good. Finish your last two reps wishing the exercise was over. If you did not feel that way, write it down and add a little weight or resistance.

personal training log

activity and food log

In the beginning, you may want it to be over after 5 reps. ​It will get easier. 25 reps is your goal. Be kind to yourself, if it's a struggle at first, it's okay. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Focus on good form throughout each exercise. Keep your abs tight, shoulders back and chest out. Proper posture is the key to maximum benefits and avoiding injury.

1. The pushup. It uses your own body weight as resistance.

beacon hill athletic club

beacon hill athletic club

push-up form

womens health mag

  • Raise and lower your body using your arms and chest getting nose as close to the floor as possible
  • Keep your neck in line with your spine - don't strain forward with your neck
  • Keep your abs tight and your butt down. Proper form is key to getting the most out of this exercise!
  • Repeat 25 times - if you can't make it to 25, it's ok, it will get easier!

2.  Lunges.  Add small dumb bells as you progress.

womens health mag lunges

womens health mag lunges

  • Make sure your knee doesn't extend over your toe when lunging forward
  • Focus weight on stationary leg
  • Use a controlled movement. Steady yourself in a doorway or next to a wall if needed.
  • Keep your abs tight and look at the horizon.
  • Start with 25 reps each leg

3.  Knee Kick-ups

  • Support your neck with your hands
  • Kick knees to ceiling without straightening legs
  • Concentrate on holding your shoulders as high off the floor as possible
  • Your goal is to get your hips off the floor as high as possible
  • Return to starting position keeping feet off the ground and repeat.
  • 25 reps focusing on good form
lying kickups courtesy-blog by bess

lying kickups courtesy-blog by bess

4. Arm Curls with Weights or Bands

curls terryhealth.com

curls terryhealth.com

bicep-curls popsugar

bicep-curls popsugar

    • Lift the weight or bands up towards your shoulders using elbow as the pivot point.
    • Return to starting position
    • Focus on your elbows staying stationary at your sides.
    • Bend knees slightly with feet shoulder width apart
    • Keep your abs tight, shoulders back and look at the horizon
    • Repeat 25 times. Add more resistance as you progress.

    5.  Tricep Extensions with Bands or Weights

    tricep kickback munfitnessblog

    tricep kickback munfitnessblog

    Using Weights

    • Steady yourself on a bench
    • Pivot weight from low position to arm extended back. Return to starting position.
    • Keep your elbow as stationary as possible
    • Focus the effort on the back of the upper arm
    • Secure band overhead
    • With palm facing down and arm at 90 degrees, push hand down to extend arm straight
    • Keep elbow steady at your side
    • Return to starting position
    • Repeat 25 times
    • Focus on the tricep area on the back of the upper arm
    • Avoid swinging your arm up and down
    • Use a controlled movement
    Tricep Extension - hotathome

    Tricep Extension - hotathome

    Using Bands


    For longevity and quality of life, it's up to you to take care of your body. Fuel it right and add some weight bearing exercise and you'll be amazed at your increase in energy and sense of well-being.

    Take time to take care of yourself. Use your journal or activity log daily. This can also be a time of reflection that is good for the mind and spirit.

    Before starting any exercise program, if in doubt of your health, check with your doctor to make sure it's safe to begin.

    As always, you can contact me at sara@eurofitwithsara if you have any questions. I'll answer your questions and if I don't have the answer, I'll find it for you!

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