1. Create your bone health team, starting with your health care provider! Get her input before embarking on any new exercise program. Ask him if any exercises are contraindicated for you AND if you have any weight restrictions with your strength training. The NOF, (National Osteoporosis Foundation) recommends lifting no more than 10 pounds; that’s 5 pounds in each hand, until you’ve discussed any limitations with your health care provider. Your limit may be more or less than 10 pounds.
2. Get a referral to a physical therapist, specializing in osteoporosis, to individualize your exercise program.
3. Ideally, see a registered dietician to make sure that your diet is providing all of the bone building nutrients that you need.
4. Seek out a certified Personal Trainer, (cPT), knowledgeable in bone health and osteoporosis. Check the IDEA Fitness Connect, online to find one in your area. Doing strength training twice a week for life will keep you strong and help put the brakes on bone loss. Find a group, find a trainer, make it social, make it fun and you’ll make it happen!
5. Educate yourself! The research done on strength training and bone density shows very encouraging news. Overall, those who strength trained gained 1% bone mass. The control groups that didn’t, lost between 2% and 5% bone density. So, even though the gains are modest, they can accrue over time. And, strength training is not just about building bone density. It’s about building balance, coordination, and agility so that you don’t fall down. Many fractures, especially of the hip and wrist, can be avoided if you simply don’t fall down. To avoid spinal wedge fractures, standing up straight can make a huge difference.
6. Check out the "Moving Safely" page of the National Osteoporosis Foundation! It is a very thorough discussion with illustrations of safe and unsafe movements for those with osteoporosis and low bone density, often called osteopenia.
7. Watch the NOF’s Consumer Webinar Series, “Healthy Bones, Build Them for Life® Webinar Series." They are excellent!
8. Be sure to read my blog and sign up for my newsletter. I share the fun that I have exercising with my pals. I review books, read research daily on bone health, and send the best of the news to my clients to keep them up on the latest in safe exercise for osteoporosis and safe exercise for women over 50. I’ll do my best to keep you inspired to move and stay strong!
None of my advice should be used as a substitute for medical advice. Start first with your health care provider!