Osteoporosis

What is it?

Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break.  It’s a fairly common condition affecting around three million people in the UK.  Wrist fractures, hip fractures and fractures of the vertebrae (bones in the spine) are the most common type of breaks that affect people with osteoporosis.

While as children our bones grow and repair very quickly, this process slows as you get older.  You gradually start to lose bone density from about 35 years of age.  Losing bone density is a normal part of the ageing process, but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures. There are usually no warnings you’ve developed osteoporosis and it’s often only diagnosed when a bone is fractured after even minor falls.

How can Pilates help?

Exercise, healthy eating and other lifestyle changes can slow the bone loss that usually occurs as we age and may help to reduce the risk of our bones breaking.  For bone stimulation exercises should be weight-bearing; supporting your own body weight through your feet and legs (or hands and arms).  Working with weights or a resistance band can also be helpful.

Pilates exercises such as Superman in four point kneeling or back extension such as Diamond Press are particularly beneficial.  Pilates focus on improvements in posture and balance will also be beneficial.  However, there are some movements that should be avoided, including forward flexion (roll downs etc).  Always ensure you are working with a fully qualified and experienced Pilates teacher and ensure you seek advice from your health professional before starting any exercise.

Other sources of information

NHS.uk
National Osteoporosis Society



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