Clients come in all ages and have different physical abilities. If you work with the elderly, then you may be familiar with osteoporosis, a bone disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle. With osteoporosis, bones are more susceptible to breaking or fracturing from very minor actions and sometimes individuals fear that too much physical activity will cause their bones to become even more fragile. Interestingly enough, consistent and light exercise can actually help protect your bones.
If you work with a client that has osteoporosis, it is essential that you understand what exercises are safe for them and how to perform those exercises.
Safe Types of Exercises For Osteoporosis
As always, before beginning any new exercise routine for clients with osteoporosis, it is important to make sure they have consulted with their doctor first. In general, for trainees that have osteoporosis, most safe exercises involve mostly cardio work.
In an effort to build up your client’s bone density, weight-bearing exercises are actually the best to incorporate into their exercise regimen, and your client really won’t be using a lot of weight. The two main types of weight-bearing exercises are high-impact and low-impact. Weight-bearing exercises will make your client move against gravity but still stay upright.
For the most part, here are some exercises that will be safe for your client to do:
- Use resistance bands
- Using a stair-stepping machine or elliptical trainer
- Any aerobic activity like swimming or cycling, even gardening
- Basic flexibility exercises that use full ranges of motion
- Stability and balance exercises to prevent falling
- Bodyweight exercises like squats
High-impact, weight-bearing exercises should try to be avoided if a client has a high risk of breaking a bone, while low-impact weight-bearing exercises are a much safer alternative. Examples of exercises to avoid in this case would be:
- Jumping rope
- Bending and twisting the body
Strengthen Bones & Help Prevent Bone Loss
Osteoporosis is a disease that can be helped with regular exercise. Getting your client to work their muscles will help protect the bone and also slow bone loss that typically occurs with osteoporosis. Regular exercise for clients who have osteoporosis can also help prevent many fall-related fractures.
Other ways your client can improve their health while having osteoporosis is to have a balanced diet and if needed, take proper medications. Calcium and Vitamin D are good sources of nutrition and will help maintain and increase bone density in addition to regular exercise. Work with your client and their doctor so that they can stay healthy and strong.