Benefits of Exercise in Osteopenia & Different Types of Weight Bearing Exercises for Osteopenia

What is Osteopenia?

Osteopenia is the condition in which the mineral bone density is low. Osteopenia is not as severe as the osteoporosis, but puts the body at a high risk for broken bones and osteoporosis itself. More common in women above the age of 50, osteopenia is a lurking demon, which needs to be tackled right in its roots. Therefore, a proper weight bearing exercise routine is recommended for people suffering from osteopenia.

Benefits of Exercise in Osteopenia

Benefits of Exercise in Osteopenia

Talking of the benefits of exercising in osteopenia, a regular workout regimen that suits the patient’s body not only helps in preventing a further worsening of the bone density levels, but if practiced diligently, it can also lead to an increase in the existing bone density levels. Though there is medication that can also be taken for Osteopenia, but the effect of the weight bearing exercises has its own benefits.

The weight bearing exercises, opposing to what the name suggests aren’t about lifting heavy weights, but it refers to the exercises that work against gravity to stimulate bone formation. It is through the weight of the body on the bones that the bones become stronger over a period of time. The weight bearing exercises like jogging, walking, dancing etc. have shown much improvement in cases of osteopenia than the non-weight bearing exercises like swimming and cycling. Therefore, some common weight bearing exercises which are suggested for osteopenia are listed below.

Different Types of Weight Bearing Exercises for Osteopenia

The weight bearing exercises can be categorized into the high impact exercises and the low impact exercises. The high impact weight bearing exercises are the ones which should be avoided in osteopenia if there is a high risk of breaking bones. And since they have quite an impact, high impact weight bearing exercises should be started only after a consultation with your doctor. A combination of these exercises should be formulated which works best for the body without causing any harm.

High Impact Weight Bearing Exercises for Osteopenia

The high impact weight bearing exercises for osteopenia include:

Brisk Walking: Walking fast is among the best weight bearing exercises for osteopenia. Not only does brisk walking help in making your weight work for your health, but makes sure of an overall maintenance of your health including your bone health too.

Climbing Stairs: Climbing stairs stimulates bone growth and therefore this weight bearing exercise falls among the preferred forms of workout for osteopenia.

Dancing: Free style dancing works well for osteopenia, but there are some specific dances, which involve hopping and stomping, which can be done for osteopenia. These forms of dances include contra-dancing, tap dancing, polka and other folk dances.

Jumping Rope: Jumping or hopping or even doing jumping jacks is a good weight bearing exercise for osteopenia and helps strengthen the bones.

Step Aerobics or Gymnastics: This form of weight bearing exercise also works well towards stimulating bone density in the patients of osteopenia.

Hiking: Another one of the exercises that works against gravity in strengthening the bones is hiking. This exercise can also be occasioned as a workout at times for osteopenia.

Jogging: Much like brisk walking, jogging is a combination of hopping and running, which makes it an ideal exercise for osteopenia.

Playing Tennis: Tennis or any other sports with racquets can also be done as a weight bearing exercise for osteopenia.

Lawn Mowing: Pushing a heavy lawn mower or venturing in for heavy gardening or any other form of yard work also works well as a heavy impact workout for osteopenia.

Low Impact Weight Bearing Exercises for Osteopenia

If the above mentioned exercises seem too much for the body, you can try the low impact weight bearing exercises to benefit osteopenia. These exercises are less likely to cause any fractures and work gradually towards building a better bone density. Some of the low impact weights bearing exercises have been detailed below:

  • Elliptical training machines.
  • Stair step machines.
  • Low impact aerobics.
  • Walking.

Some Important Points When Doing Weight Bearing Exercises for Osteopenia

Though the exercises listed above work impeccably for osteopenia, yet there are some points that need to be considered before starting or setting off on your exercise regimen for Osteopenia:

Change Your Workout: Since a single exercise routine stresses a single part of the body, it is best recommended that the exercise forms be changed every two weeks to not stress the same body part and to have an equivalent effect over the body and benefit osteopenia.

Weight Lifting in Osteopenia: If you are lifting weights for a workout for osteopenia, it is essential that you take a rest of one or two days between sessions, so as to ensure the recovery of the muscles before they are being put to more use.

Lift Slowly: If you are going for lifting weights for osteopenia, it is best if you lift the weights slowly so as to let the exercise have the complete effect in strengthening the bones.

Work for stress and not pain: The intended purpose of weight bearing exercises for osteopenia is to stress the body parts to improve bone density, but if you are feeling more pain than stress then it is best to avoid the exercise or to work at it more casually. Pain can lead to more damage in osteopenia than benefit.

Some Soreness is Normal: A slight soreness of muscles is common after doing weight bearing exercises for osteopenia and can be dealt by lifting lesser weights the next day. This soreness should not be taken as pain.

Simple Practices at Home: More than any form of specific exercise, it is the daily practice of simple actions that works best towards empowering the bones.For example, avoiding the use of hands when getting up from a chair is an action which eventually works as a workout for the body.

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