Osteoporosis and physical activity

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Walking has many benefits: it's low-budget; can be done at any time; doesn't require specialized equipment or space; and is typically a low-impact form of exercise. Similar studies have shown that people living with cancer and cardiac diseases also identify walking as their top choice for exercise.

Wilson says the next step in the research is to find out more about the walking habits of people living with osteoporosis such as where and when they walk, and if they do so alone or with someone else. Explore further.

Osteoporosis and exercise - Better Health Channel

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Exercising Safely with Osteoporosis

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Key learning points: physical activity in osteoporosis

More information: Modes of physical activity reported by older adults living with osteoporosis in Canada. Weight-bearing exercise and resistance exercise are particularly important for improving bone density and helping to prevent osteoporosis. If you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it's a good idea to talk to your GP or health specialist before starting a new exercise programme to make sure it's right for you.

High-impact weight-bearing exercises, such as running, skipping, dancing, aerobics, and even jumping up and down on the spot, are all useful ways to strengthen your muscles, ligaments and joints.


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Read more about choosing sports shoes and trainers. This can include brisk walking, keep-fit classes or a game of tennis. Swimming and cycling aren't weight-bearing exercises, however. Read more about physical activity guidelines for older adults. This will have wider beneficial effects on physical, social and psychological health, wellbeing and self-efficacy. This document is intended for UK medical and allied health professionals, physiotherapists and other exercise professionals. This document updates the principles underpinning previous guidance on exercise and physical activity and distils current research evidence on the subject.

It is designed for UK health and exercise referral systems. Defined as physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive and purposive in the sense that improvement or maintenance of one or more components of physical fitness is an objective. This could include regular gym or exercise classes or regular and repetitive sporting activities. This document supplements existing UK clinical guidance with regard to the role of physical activity and exercise in osteoporosis management. It endorses the current clinical approach to osteoporosis management — that physical activity and exercise should complement rather than replace the use of pharmacological therapies recommended to improve bone strength for those with a significant fracture risk.

Recommendations are specified under each theme, where appropriate, for:. Individual themes will have particular relevance for some individuals according to their needs or preferences, but all are important and should be considered. Physical activity and exercise have an important role in the management of osteoporosis, promoting bone strength, reducing falls risk, and the management of vertebral fracture symptoms. They should form part of a broad approach that includes other positive lifestyle changes, combined with pharmacological treatment where appropriate.

People with osteoporosis should be encouraged to do more rather than less. Although specific levels and types of physical activity and exercise are likely to be most effective, even a minimal increase in activity should be encouraged to provide at least some benefit.

Building Bone Density

The evidence indicates that physical activity and exercise is not associated with significant harm, including vertebral fracture; in general, the benefits of physical activity and exercise outweigh the potential risks. Professionals should avoid restricting physical activity and exercise unnecessarily according to BMD or fracture risk thresholds, as this is often unhelpful and may discourage exercise or activities that promote bone as well as other health benefits.

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