When faced with osteopenia, our main goal is to reduce the chance of developing osteoporotic fractures at some point.
Physical exercise, that is, strengthening the stamina of the bones and improving our movement, is one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal.
As with any type of exercise, our doctor needs to make sure that this program is right for us before we start, especially if we have other health problems, or are taking medications that may affect our movement. The great advantage of exercise for osteopenia is that it is done in hours, space and intensity that we regulate, according to our lifestyle and our endurance.
The exercises are divided into 2 big categories: the exercises “balance and coordination” and the exercises that “create” bone, that strengthen the bones.
The first category is necessary because the best way to avoid an osteoporotic fracture in our arm, or leg, is to avoid falling.
Thus, balance exercises such as:
- stand for 2-3 seconds on one leg and then on the other,
- walking for a few steps on the toes and then on the heels,
- walking with the side of the body crossing the legs as in dancing
- walking backwards
are the first ones we try by timing, if we want, the seconds we perform the exercise to measure our degree of improvement.
Simple coordination exercises are:
- from a sitting or standing position to throw a tennis ball on the floor and catch it
- to throw a ball at the wall and catch it or from an upright position to throw a ball at our friend and throw it at us again by moving to the side, or back and forth by one or two steps at a time.
The second category is necessary for the bones to suffer more difficult fractures while it also combines some elements from the first category. Our bones are made so that, if we put a load on them, weight -within the limits of their endurance of course- they become stronger.
- The first basic exercise of this category, is walking and all its variants (running, dancing, walking with weights on legs).
- The second exercise is the strengthening of the movements of the hips (e.g. stretching the leg to the side, back, in front of an upright position and with auxiliary support on a wall, table, with additional resistance, or not).
- The third exercise is the strengthening of the movements and posture of our back, with a preference for the exercise of the back muscles from a forward position.
These categories of movements (and exercises) are combined anyway in our daily lives. An opportunity to exercise in combination is to try e.g. to get up from the chair without help from our hands.
From our brief report it should not be overlooked that for our exercises we consult with our doctor, we follow the program and the advice provided by our physiotherapist and we do not exercise if we do not have the mood or certainty about what we do.
Advises Mr. Christos Komisopoulos, Physiotherapist