3 exercises to help strengthen your bones
Osteoporosis is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, with over 3 million people affected in the UK alone.
Unfortunately, the risk of developing osteoporosis increases significantly with age, and women are at higher risk of suffering from it than men.
While it’s not possible to cure osteoporosis, there are treatments available to help support those who have been diagnosed, but as with many conditions, there are also steps you can take to help prevent it from developing in the first place.
Living a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and plenty of exercise is the best thing you can do, as well as avoiding smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.
Foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D are particularly recommended to help reduce the chances of developing the condition.
As a personal trainer, male and female clients come to me interested in weight training to build their muscle mass or to tone their bodies, and of course, this is generally what most people associate weight training with. While this is true, one of the lesser-known effects of weight training is the increase in bone strength and density.
How can weight training help with osteoporosis?
Various studies have shown that regular weight training can help to reverse the effects of low bone mass and even build bone in middle-aged men and women, because as your muscles become stronger, your bones do too.
While weight training can sound daunting to beginners and conjure up images of giant bodybuilders and benches loaded with scary looking weights, there are actually a few simple exercises you can do with little or no equipment.
The key thing to remember is to focus on the areas of your body that are most at risk of bone loss and fractures related to osteoporosis. Specifically, your hips and back are the two parts of your body that are most susceptible.
Before you start with any weight training, it’s important that you’re aware of your limitations and don’t push yourself too hard. Some people will be able to do more than others, so before you start any form of weight training, it’s best to seek advice from a qualified physio or personal trainer so that your exercises can be tailored to you.
Once you’ve taken advice and are ready to try a couple of basic exercises to get the blood flowing, then the following will provide an ideal starting point.
3 Exercises to help strengthen your bones
Squats can strengthen your buttocks and the front of your legs. If you’re stiff at first, don’t worry as you don’t have to squat really deeply for this exercise to help.
Stand with your feet hip width apart, then bend your knees keeping your back straight and your shoulders back. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor as if you are sitting on a chair. Squeeze your buttocks and return to standing. Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times.
Take a dumbbell in each hand palms up, hold them out in front of you and pull them towards your chest, watching your bicep muscles contract as you do the exercise. Then lower the dumbbells back to the original position and repeat 8 to 12 times. You can alternate between each arm or do both simultaneously if you’re able to. Start gently with a low weight before gradually building up to a heavier weight. When you first start this exercise, each weight should be no more than 2kg.
This is a great exercise for balance and will also strengthen your abdominal muscles. You’ll need a large exercise ball, and you may need someone to help you with your balance initially.
Sit on the ball and place your feet flat on the floor keeping your back straight. Hold your arms out to the sides with your palms forwards. Hold this position for 60 seconds if you can. Then stand, rest and repeat twice more for 60 seconds each time.
Call us on 07540 060269 for a free consultation and to find out more about how weight training can help you fight osteoporosis. The Fitness Room Honeybourne offers a friendly, safe gym environment, personal training, meal plans and support to help you on your health and fitness journey.