An Osteoporosis Workshop
1. Welcome to OsteoFit!
Osteoporosis is considered a serious health risk. Currently, more than half of all people in the United States over 50 years old have below normal bone mass and this number is only expected to grow over the next few years as our population ages and we are more sedentary.
Our goal is to teach you what you can do to slow down or reverse the effects of bone loss. We will also teach you the “language of osteoporosis”, carefully explaining the condition and that will allow you to talk with your doctor and health care team in a more informed way. We will include real actions like exercise and lifestyle changes that will put you back in control and confident that you are taking steps to improve your bone health.
2. Anatomy & Physiology
The skeletal system creates a remarkable organ within your body. It has three significant jobs that are essential to your well-being. First, it creates the architectural structure of the body. This structure provides mobility, support, and protection for the body. Secondly, it is a storehouse of essential minerals that is used over our lifetime. Lastly, it is a factory working with your circulatory system to create new blood cells.
3. The Risks of Osteoporosis
The greatest risk from osteoporosis is not in the thinning bone itself, but the risk that thinner bones create for fractures. Injuries due to osteoporosis primarily happen in the three areas: the hip, the wrist and the spine.
4. How We Improve
Exercise is essential in treatment of many disorders but especially in bone density issues. You may feel hesitant to exercise because of feeling vulnerable but there are ways to make incremental and progressive strides toward improving your movement.
5. Bone Density Testing
When you are susceptible to osteoporosis your doctor will likely want to have you take a bone density test. There are different tests that can be taken, but the most common test for bone mineral density is the DEXA SCAN, or DUAL ENERGY X-RAY ABSORPTION SCAN.
6. The Movement Labs
For the rest of the course we’ll cover exercises that safely increase our bone strength, improve our balance to avoid falls, and teach “better” body mechanics to reduce your risks even further.
The most important thing to understand before we begin is that your absolute best course of action is to stay physically active and understand the important role you play in your own bone health.
7. Balance Lab
Although poor balance is not a direct effect of osteoporosis, the combination of osteoporosis and poor balance has the most significant impact on injuries.
8. Flexibility Lab
Working on your flexibility is an important part of your physical exercise plan as it helps you move with proper body mechanics and avoid spinal flexion during tasks like squatting or bending. Flexibility in our chest, upper back and legs can help to improve our posture, and proper posture will take pressure off the vulnerable part of our spine that could result in compression fractures.
9. Bone Strength Lab
Learning safe ways to exercise is especially important for people with bone density issues. Your exercise routine should include both muscular and impact forces to appropriately target all areas of your body.
10. Osteoporosis and You
Now you know the important role you must play in your own bone strength. It may take some lifestyle changes to get there, but it is completely manageable. It is never too late to begin improving bone strength and reducing your risk of bone fractures. A physical therapist can help you further by designing an individualized exercise plan for your specific needs.