Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that effects the mineral density of our bones, which can also be referred to as brittle bones. This condition is more prevalent in older adults, especially women. Bone goes through a cycle of re-absorption and remodelling. When we are younger, bone remodelling is more prominent than re-absorption resulting in increased strength and density of the bones in the body. However, as we get older this balance shifts and bone re-absorption comes to the forefront. With more bone being reabsorbed, we become more at risk of developing brittle bones. This can see an increase in risk of fractures, due to weakening of the bone structure, which become more life threatening as we age.
However, there is good news! We are able to prevent or manage this condition through exercise. Specific focus should be on impact, resistance and balance exercises. Bone is adaptive and changes in response to repetitive loading, in order to best withstand future loads of the same nature. This means that when performing loaded or impact type activities our bodies will promote further bone remodelling in response to the stress placed upon them. Accordingly, these loaded or impact type activities incorporated into an appropriate exercise regime, have the potential to cease or even reverse the advancement of osteoporotic conditions, over the longer term.
Although it is never too late to start, it is important to be aware that the intensity of the exercises performed needs to be appropriately designed for the individual, especially if an osteoporotic condition is already present. It is crucial that exercise is prescribed to each individual based on their abilities and circumstances and therefore it is advised to consult with an Exercise Physiologist before participating in any exercise program.