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Strength Training for Osteoporosis 

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to an increased risk of fractures (Wright et al., 2014). Strength training exercises can be an effective way to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Strength training applies force to the bones, which provides a stimulus for new bone formation (Howe, T.E., et al., 2011). This helps strengthen and thicken bones, making them more resistant to fractures.

Some of the key benefits of strength training for osteoporosis include improved bone mineral density, improved muscle strength, better posture and balance, and reduced risk of falls and fractures (Marques et al., 2017). Strength training triggers the body to release compounds that promote bone growth, including growth hormone and testosterone. It also stimulates osteoblasts, which are cells that form new bone tissue. Over time, regular strength training can lead to significant improvements in bone mineral density.

When designing a strength training program for osteoporosis, it is important to do weight-bearing and resistance exercises that target all the major muscle and bone groups. Examples include squats, lunges, chest presses, lateral raises, bicep curls, and calf raises using weights, resistance bands, or body weight (Giangregorio et al., 2015). Proper form and gradually increasing intensity and duration are key to providing an effective stimulus without risking injury. Most experts recommend strength training 2-3 times per week for people with osteoporosis, in addition to getting adequate calcium and vitamin D (Howe, T.E., et al., 2011).

With clinician guidance and proper precautions, strength training can be a safe and effective way to manage osteoporosis. The stimulus to bone tissue helps rebuild strength and prevent fractures. Strength training also provides many secondary benefits like better balance and posture. Along with medication and diet, it can be a key component of an osteoporosis treatment plan.

References:

Wright, N. C., Looker, A. C., Saag, K. G., Curtis, J. R., Delzell, E. S., Randall, S., & Dawson-Hughes, B. (2014). The Recent Prevalence of Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass in the United States Based on Bone Mineral Density at the Femoral Neck or Lumbar Spine. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 29(11), 2520–2526. https://doi.org/10.1002/jbmr.2269

Marques, E.A., Mota, J., Machado, L., et al. (2017). Multicomponent exercise program improves physical functioning and reduces falls in older adults with osteoporosis: A randomized controlled trial. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 98(8), 1608-1614. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2017.03.029

Giangregorio, L. M., McGill, S., Wark, J. D., Laprade, J., Heinonen, A., Ashe, M. C., MacIntyre, N. J., Cheung, A. M., Shipp, K., Keller, H., Jain, R., & Papaioannou, A. (2015). Too Fit To Fracture: outcomes of a Delphi consensus process on physical activity and exercise recommendations for adults with osteoporosis with or without vertebral fractures. Osteoporosis International : A Journal Established as Result of Cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA, 26(3), 891–910. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-014-2881-4

Howe, T. E., Shea, B., Dawson, L. J., Downie, F., Murray, A., Ross, C., Harbour, R. T., Caldwell, L. M., & Creed, G. (2011). Exercise for preventing and treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 7. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd000333.pub2

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