Your chances of suffering a fracture from osteoporosis increase with age and if you are female.¬† Many fractures lead to immediate pain.¬† Other fractures go unnoticed at first and slowly lead to increasing pain and disability over time. Falls are a leading cause of fracture in people with osteoporosis. ¬†Even a minor fall can fracture a weakened and susceptible bone.¬† This article teaches you how to get started with balance exercises so you don‚Äôt have to worry about falling.
A Proven Way to Decrease Your Fear of Falling and Improve Balance
A recent study supported by the International Osteoporosis Foundation and the National Osteoporosis Foundation investigated the effectiveness of exercise in 149 women with osteoporosis.¬† These women were all 65 years and older.¬† All had sustained a previous spine fracture.
Half of the women performed a 12-week exercise program of strength training and balance exercises.¬†¬† These women met twice per week for a one-hour group exercise class.¬† The other half of the research participants performed no exercise for the 12-week study period.
The women who performed the 12 weeks of exercise showed significant improvements in several areas.¬† Balance scores, sit-to-stand time, arm strength, and fear of falling all improved in the exercise group.¬† The group performing no exercise showed no improvement in any of these areas.¬† These results suggest women with osteoporosis benefit from an ongoing exercise program that includes both strength and balance exercises.
3 Simple Balance Exercises for Osteoporosis to Help You Start
Balance exercise is performed along with strength training.¬† Squats, step-ups, and lunges are great exercises to build strength, bone density, and improve your balance.¬† However, you also want to work in exercises that are specific to balance.¬† These should be done at least 2 to 3 days per week.
We recommend you start with static balance exercises.¬† These are exercises where you are standing in one place.¬† It is easy to do these near a chair or wall just in case you become unbalanced.¬† Common exercises are single-leg standing or standing in tandem with 1 foot in front of the other.¬† Perform these exercises with at least 10 second holds.¬† Work up to 30-second holds for at least 3 repetitions on each side.
After you master the static balance exercise, start moving a little more.¬† Dynamic balance exercises are more challenging and typical of what you will encounter during everyday activities. ¬†An example is walking heel to toe in tandem.¬† Also, stepping over objects is a simple but challenging balance exercise you can do in your home.¬† Perform 10 steps in each direction for at least 2 to 3 sets.
Do Balance Exercises Anytime and Anywhere
You do not have to do balance exercises at a gym or at any dedicated time of day.¬† We recommend you incorporate balance exercise into your daily activities.¬† For example, balance for 10 to 30 seconds while waiting for the kettle to boil, or cooking.¬† During television commercials, stand up and practice tandem walking.¬† Try different things and stick with what works for you.
See Your Physical Therapist for a Personalized Exercise Program
Combining weight-bearing strength training with balance exercises will get you the best results.¬† You may have difficulty getting started.¬† This is normal especially if you have some fears about falling.
Many people we work with prefer to get started with the help of their physical therapist.¬† This is a safer approach for a lot of people who have fallen in the past.¬† Your therapist will guide you along until you are ready to exercise on your own.¬†¬†Contact us¬†for help developing the program that is best for your abilities and goals.