Osteoporosis is a decrease in bone mass and bone density, causing an increase in the space between bones, which can result in fragility. Osteoporosis is most prevalent in women, particularly in postmenopausal women.
More than 25 million people are affected by osteoporosis each year, resulting in approximately 1.5 million hip fractures. Only 20 percent of the patients return to a normal functional status.
Is there any hope for post-menopausal women?
Certainly! Just be aware of some risk factors and what you can actively do to prevent and/or cope with osteoporosis.
To begin with, you may need to increase your dietary intake of calcium, limit your alcohol intake and quit smoking.
But there’s more you can do!
Among the variety of risk factors that influence osteoporosis, the most important is the amount of peak bone density. In order to maintain consistent bone density, people must remain active enough to ensure adequate stress is being placed on their bodies.
Osteoporosis commonly affects the bone structures considered part of the core (located in and around the hip and lumbar spine region). Decreased bone mineral density places the core in a weakened state and consequently, more susceptible to injury, such as a fracture.
Resistance and Stabilization Training
Those who participate in resistance training have a higher bone mineral density than those who do not. Resistance training has been shown to improve bone mineral density by five percent.
Stabilization training (i.e.: balance exercises) is necessary to remedy the lack of balance that often leads to falls and hip fractures.
Fitness Programs that combine resistance training (to increase bone mineral density) with flexibility, core and balance training (to enhance proprioception) will appropriately address the needs of those with osteoporosis.
In order for a fitness program to achieve the desired effect on bone mass, a minimum of six months of consistent exercise at high intensities, progressed appropriately is recommended.