For people with weak bones, exercise regularly can boost bone health and cut falls risk

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Scientists from Loughborough University suggest that people with weakened bones (osteoporosis) shouldn’t be afraid to exercise regularly.

The researchers suggest that the patients should be encouraged to do more rather than less, with an exercise routine that includes muscle strengthening exercises on 2 to 3 days of the week and brief bursts of moderate impact activities, such as jogging, aerobics, or Zumba on most days.

And for those who have already sustained a vertebral fracture, or who are frail/elderly, the advice is to include lower impact exercise up to the level of brisk walking for 20 minutes every day.

The research is published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and was conducted by Katherine Brooke-Wavell et al.

An estimated 137 million women and 21 million men have osteoporosis, with this prevalence expected to double within the next 40 years.

Hip and spine fractures can interfere with the independence and reduce life expectancy, while vertebral fractures are associated with long-term pain.

Regular exercise strengthens bones, reduces the risk of fractures and falls, improves posture, as well as boosts overall mental and physical health, so it’s important that people with osteoporosis don’t miss out on these health benefits.

But continuing uncertainties about what type of physical activity people with, or at risk of, osteoporosis can safely do, particularly later in life or when bones have already significantly weakened, has left clinicians in the dark about what to recommend, and deterred those with the condition from regular physical activity for fear of worsening it or sustaining a fracture.

In the study, the team reviewed the existing evidence and drew on a wide range of expert clinical and patient opinions, to reach an agreement on a series of recommendations designed to maximize the bone health of people with osteoporosis while minimizing their fracture risk.

They also found everyone with osteoporosis may benefit from advice on adapting postures and movements, particularly when starting a new program of exercise.

The consensus also sets out some overarching principles for people with osteoporosis and the clinicians who treat them.

Physical activity and exercise have a key role in promoting bone strength, reducing falls risk, and managing vertebral fracture symptoms, so should be part of a broad approach that includes other lifestyle changes—adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, not smoking, and cutting down on alcohol intake—combined with drug treatment, where appropriate.

People with osteoporosis should be encouraged to do more rather than less.

The evidence indicates that physical activity and exercise aren’t associated with significant harm, including vertebral fracture; in general, the benefits of physical activity outweigh the risks.

If you care about bone health, please read studies that plant-based diets can harm your bone health without these two nutrients, and this bone problem may strongly increase the COVID-19 death risk.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that too much of this vitamin may increase your risk of bone fractures, and results show this type of exercise may protect your bone health, and slow down bone aging.

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