September 1, 2011

Osteopenia Exercises

Osteopenia Exercises and Drinking MilkOsteopenia Exercises for Strong Bones

Bone is living tissue and not some inert tissue forever the same.  Bone is very much alive and some of it “dies” and is “born” every day.  The bone you currently have is not the same bone you had 10 years ago.  At any moment some bone is being reabsorbed by the body while new bone is being formed and laid down.  This ensures that bone is structurally strong.

If bone did not turnover it would weaken with time just like a support in a building. Osteopenia exercises improve bone density and strength.

As we age more bone is reabsorbed than is formed leading to osteopenia and osteoporosis. There are several reasons for this mismatch of bone resorption and formation, but much of it has to do with declining hormone levels. Inactivity plays a role, too.

The good news is exercise can stimulate bone production, and thus be a very effective treatment for osteopenia.   Bones get stronger when they are placed under physical stress. The best osteopenia exercises consist of weight-bearing and resistance or strength training exercises.  In addition, other exercises that improve balance (reduce risk of falls) and flexibility are important as part of a comprehensive exercise program for osteopenia.

Weight-Bearing Exercises

Weight-bearing exercises are those that require you to move against the force of gravity and can be described as high-impact or low-impact exercises.  Though both can help maintain and build stronger bones, high-impact exercises are better.

Low-impact exercise can be beneficial for those who are unable to perform high-impact exercises due to orthopedic problems, or poor general health and fitness.  Below are examples of high- and low-impact exercises.

High-Impact Exercises               Low-Impact Exercises

Running                                                                              Cycling/stationary cycling

Basketball                                                                          Walking

Tennis                                                                                 Low-impact aerobics

Hiking                                                                                  Using elliptical machine

Stair climbing                                                                     Using rowing machine

High-impact aerobics


Resistance or Strength Training Exercises

Resistance/strength training exercises are excellent weight-bearing osteopenia exercises. They help to build and maintain muscle strength which helps to maintain bone density.

Resistance exercises should be done a minimum of twice a week (3 times a week is better) and performed on the major muscle groups of the body: upper, mid, and lower back, chest, shoulders, upper arms and forearms, abdominals, gluteals, thigh, hips, and calves.

Try to do at least one set of 8 to 12 repetitions.  Doing 2 or 3 sets will enable you to build more muscle.  If you can do more than 12 repetitions you can increase the weight or resistance.  Also, if you go to a health club be sure to a trainer should you how to properly use each piece of equipment to minimize injury and improve your results.

Balance and Flexibility Exercises

Performing balance and flexibility exercises regularly facilitates performing movements with undue stress to muscles and joints.  It also reduces the risk of falls making them terrific osteopenia exercises. By reducing falls the risk of a fracture is minimized. A beginner’s yoga class is a great way to start to improve both balance and flexibility. Pilates is another form of balance and flexibility exercises.


Oh yeah, don’t forget to drink your milk and be sure to get enough vitamin D.

See related articles.

“Pregnancy and Exercise”

“Is Anaerobic Better Than Aerobic Exercise?

“Calisthenics for Fitness”

“Staying Young with Tai Chi”

“Aerobic Exercise: Helpful Tips”

“Vitamin K: Protect Your Bones and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease”

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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