Are you concerned about your risk of bone fracture?
Wondering how to exercise for osteoporosis and prevent your prolapse worsening?
Osteoporosis exercises present a unique challenge for women with prolapse problems with their emphasis on heavy resistance and high impact exercises.
The great news is that appropriate exercises can help you improve your bone health and reduce your risk of prolapse worsening.
Read on now to learn:
- The best exercises to increase bone density
- Osteoporosis exercises that prevent prolapse worsening:
- How to modify resistance training exercises for osteoporosis
- How to modify weight bearing exercises for osteoporosis
- Does walking improve your bone density?
- How exercise increases bone density and prevents bone loss
Exercise is one of the most effective lifestyle practices for increasing bone density and preventing bone loss.
Appropriate osteoporosis exercises can help women prevent the loss of bone density. Research shows that the risk of hip fracture is reduced by 38% in mature women who participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity1
The Best Exercises to Increase Bone Density
Two main types of exercise promote bone development:
1. Progressive high resistance or heavy loading resistance training exercises e.g. heavy weight training exercises
2. Moderate to high impact weight bearing exercises e.g. running, jumping
You can see how these osteoporosis exercises are inappropriate for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery!
Heavy lifting and high impact exercises increase the risk of pelvic floor overload and these are exercises to avoid with prolapse and after prolapse surgery. This means that these exercises need to be modified.
In addition to these exercises, flexibility and balance exercises are also important inclusions in bone health exercise programs.
1. Pelvic Floor Safe Resistance Training Osteoporosis Exercises
There are a number of ways women can perform safe resistance exercises for osteoporosis without overloading their pelvic floor. For women with osteoporosis or prolapse the focus of resistance training shifts away from heavy loading light to moderate muscle strength exercises.
To minimise strain on your pelvic floor, keep your resistance exercises consistent with the 10 principles for pelvic floor safe strength training
Examples of pelvic floor safe weight training exercises
Osteoporosis exercises for hips
- Mini squats*
- Clam exercises*
- Calf raises*
Osteoporosis exercises for spine
- Alternate arm and leg raises *
- Push backs *
Osteoporosis exercises for wrists
- Seated biceps curl with wrist rotation*
- Standing wall push ups*
* Exercises demonstrated in Inside Out Strength DVD – Pelvic Floor Safe Strength Training Workout for Women ( right)
2. Pelvic Floor Safe Weight Bearing Osteoporosis Exercises
High Impact Exercises
High impact exercises are usually recommended for bone loading. These exercises involve landing heavily either from a height (e.g. stepping down heavily) or after both feet are off the ground at once.
High impact exercises are unsafe for women with or at risk of prolapse, as well as those women with established osteoporosis.
Low Impact Exercises
The safest weight bearing bone health exercises for women with osteoporosis and/or prolapse are low impact exercises.
Low impact exercises involve keeping one foot in contact with the ground and so lessen the
impact of landing. Low impact exercises can promote bone health, cardiovascular fitness, endurance and weight control.
Examples of low impact osteoporosis weight bearing exercises
- Brisk walking
- Low impact dancing
- Stair climbing (without heavy step down)
3. Does Walking Increase Bone Density?
While walking has wonderful health and fitness benefits, unfortunately leisurely walking does not increase bone density.
Slow walking is an everyday activity that the body is accustomed to and so it does not load bones sufficiently to promote bone growth.
Walking needs to be brisk to have a positive effect on bone health.
There is no benefit on bone health to be gained from walking with ankle weights or carrying dumbbell weights. Both forms of loading increase the risk of injury.
How Exercise Increases Bone Density and Prevents Bone Loss
Bones are living tissue. Our bones are constantly being remodelled with new bone cells being laid down and bone cells not required being resorbed by the body.
The stimulus to prevent your bone cells being resorbed and to promote the production of more bone cells comes from loading your bones.
When the body is unloaded, bone density rapidly declines (which is why astronauts rapidly lose their bone density when in a weightless environment).
Bone loading exercises should be directed at the muscles surrounding those areas most at risk of fracture; the hips, spine, pelvis and wrists.
Key Points for Osteoporosis Exercises and Prolapse
As you can see traditional osteoporosis exercises need to be modified for women who are at increased risk of prolapse. Heavy resistance and high impact exercises
are inappropriate for women with osteoporosis or prolapse.
Pelvic floor safe osteoporosis exercises including appropriate resistance and weight bearing exercises can help you exercise safely for your bone health and protect your prolapse from worsening with exercise.
1Moayyeri A.(2008) The association between physical activity and osteoporotic fractures: a review of the evidence and implications for future research. Ann Epidemiol, 18:827–35