By: Dr. Beth Templin
0steoporosis is a condition that is categorized by weakening of the bones in the body. Osteoporosis can lead to issues such as a loss of height and increased risk for fractures. One of the main goals of treatment is to reverse or lessen the loss of bone. That is why exercise is crucial to strengthen your body.
The physical activity guidelines for treatment of osteoporosis recommend a combination of strength training, balance training, and impact training. Most people are familiar with the benefits of strength training. When you strength train, the pull of the muscles on the bones during the activities signals the body to make more dense bone.
Balance training is considered to be an important part of osteoporosis management because it helps to decrease the risk of falls. This will reduce the likelihood of having a fracture or broken bone.
A less known, but highly effective treatment is impact training. Activities such as jogging, brisk walking, and stair climbing are considered impact training. Impact training can also include jump training, which will be the focus of this article.
Why Impact Training?
We know that the body adapts to the stresses that are placed on it every day. Let's take a look at an extreme to understand this concept better. When astronauts are in space, they have decreased pull of gravity on their bodies. As a result, their bones tend to breakdown faster than they would if they were on Earth.
On the flip side, if we increase the stress on our body by increasing the impact on our bones, we will signal our bodies to build more dense bone. A great way to do this is by jumping.
One specific study looked at having women jump 20 times, with 30 sec rest breaks in between, twice a day. They saw significant improvements in bone mass after just 8 weeks, which increased even more after 16 weeks of training.
A similar study done on men looked at jumping 40-100 times a session, 3 times a week. They monitored for pain, fatigue and fractures. All participants were able to complete without injury and demonstrated significant improvements in bone density.
Is It Safe For People My Age?
The short answer is yes. While it's understandable to be nervous about adding jumping as an activity for someone with weak bones, it can be done in a safe manner. Similar to starting any new activity, you will want to start at an easy, beginner level and then progress slowly to high levels of intensity.
As with any new activity there are several modifications and levels that you can trial to find what is the right fit for you. This will be important as you navigate through this exercise to understand what your body can do effectively and safely.
Jump training will feel like a very new idea for your body and may bring on more apprehension than other exercises. Keep in mind, the benefits that this type of training can provide greatly outweigh the risks. Jump training is also a great way to gain power and improve reaction times to reduce risk of falls. It is also a vital component of maintaining good bone health as you age. If you have a diagnosis of Osteoporosis or Osteopenia, you will especially benefit from adding this type of exercise to your routine.
Ready to give it a try? Check out Kim's exercise of the month by clicking HERE.
❤️ Dr. Beth
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Dr. Beth helps adults 55+ maximize their independence and fitness, so they can continue to enjoy a full and active life.