Osteoporosis is a loss in density to our bones which weakens them, causing a higher potential risk of suffering a broken bone from movement or a simple fall. With age and especially for women post menopause, there is a higher risk of Osteoporosis. There are also genetic factors and medical reasons we can get this condition too. The good news is that Pilates used as a weight bearing exercise can significantly improve bone density as well as prevent further bone lose. Pilates will also help with posture awareness, mobility and is safe to do for people with Osteoporosis. It is really important that people know the movements they should avoid if they do have Osteoporosis.
In our daily life we need to retrain our minds if we have this condition, so that we make sure we are moving safely and do not get any injuries from poor movement. Driving, gardening, picking up things from the floor or carrying shopping can all be done no problem, but movement with bending forwards and loading the upper back should be avoided. Also, movement of rotation with flexion (forward bending in the upper back) needs to be avoided as there is a risk of fracture to your vertebra if you do this.
Exercises where you bend using your hips and thighs will facilitate safe movement. Rotation of the spine obviously can be done but not with loaded flexion. So no bending over boxes. Keep your spine straight. Pilates will help strengthen your core and whole body safely and we can adapt exercises to make sure you have a routine that is tailored to your needs. You must avoid curl up exercises (sit up type exercises) as these load the upper spine. Anything that flexes your upper back should be avoided. As well as rotation with flexion movement. There are many Pilates exercises that have these movements in them so it is highly recommended that you make sure your Pilates instructor is fully aware of exercises to avoid and how to adapt them for you.
So as a previous Radiographer for 12 years working at numerous London hospitals covering many specialities and a Pilates teacher for 14 years, now mentoring Pilates students for Body Control Pilates. I have put together some exercises for you which are safe and effective when you have osteoporosis and are also useful at preventing bone loss due to their weight bearing nature.
Please download 5 safe exercises you can do every day here or take a look at our 30 minute video