Bone Up to Fight Osteoporosis

Primary osteoporosis is the name given to osteoporosis cases not caused by an underlying drug reaction, disease or syndrome. In this condition, the bones—the word itself means “porous bones”—become brittle, making them highly susceptible to fracture. An event as innocuous as landing the wrong way when sitting down on a chair or twisting awkwardly during a sneeze can cause a break in an osteoporotic bone such as a hip. Exercise can minimize the consequences of this condition. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking outside or stepping on an elliptical trainer indoors three to four times a week for 15 to 30 minutes each time, can build and maintain bone density. Nonimpact activities such as posture and balance exercises can help decrease the risk of falls, too.

Effective muscle-strengthening exercises include safely lifting weights—starting with five-pound weights, if you are a novice, and working up to heavier ones as you become stronger—eight to 12 repetitions for each exercise. One way to determine the appropriate amount of weight to use is a technique known as the “10 Rep Max” by which you and the maximum amount of weight you can lift for 10 repetitions. If you can lift three pounds more than 10 times with no difficulty, the weight is too light for you. Conversely, if the weight is too heavy to allow you to perform the exercise correctly through the full range of motion, you need to switch to a lighter weight. Other simple ways to keep osteoporosis from progressing include

  • eating foods rich in bone-friendly vitamin D and calcium
  • maintaining your weight at a normal level
  • kicking the cigarette habit
  • cutting back on soda (even diet soda), coffee and other caffeinated beverages
  • keeping your alcoholic beverage consumption on the moderate side In conjunction with your physician, we can help you manage your osteoporosis with a program designed especially for you. Exactly what that program will include depends upon factors that make up your overall health, including your current bone density, fitness level, strength and additional chronic conditions.

Schedule your physical therapy appointment today at any of our 21 locations throughout Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland.

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