October 13, 2020

Do Weight-Bearing Exercises Really Make a Difference on Osteoporosis?

Specialty Infusion Blog Viv C

If you have osteoporosis, you may be looking for options to strengthen your bone density. Your medical team may have recommended that you begin weightlifting to combat the disease. But, do weight-bearing exercises really make a difference on osteoporosis?

What is Osteoporosis—and What Causes It?

According to the Mayo Clinic, osteoporosis is a decrease in bone density, which can lead to increased fractures—especially in the hip, wrist, or spine. Unfortunately, these fractures are extremely painful and can create complications like arthritis, bone infection, mobility issues, or nerve or blood vessel damage.

People that are most at-risk for osteoporosis are post-menopausal women because they have a decrease in estrogen, which can decrease bone density. There are certain risk factors for osteoporosis, such as sex, age, race, family history, physique, hormone levels, diet, certain medications, certain medical conditions, and lifestyle choices.

Treatment Methods

sportive middle aged woman holding dumbbells sitting on mat home exercises

There are some prescription medications to help you combat osteoporosis. At Specialty Infusion Centers, we administer Evenity, Prolia, and Reclast for osteoporosis.

Which medication is best for you is up to you and your doctor, but we do suggest you create a routine of weight-bearing exercises to help increase your bone density naturally. Weightlifting can help you prevent bone density loss while rebuilding bone.

Some exercises that we recommend:

  • Jumping rope: According to Time, jumping rope causes constant impact on your bones when your feet hit the ground, so it helps create bone density.
  • Weight lifting: The Mayo Clinic argues that lifting weights, similar to jumping rope, creates stress on the bones, which increases bone strength.

Interestingly, the Journal of Osteoporosis featured a study that showed the bone mineral density (the measurement of how much minerals are in the bone) in female adolescent tennis players increased not only in their tennis arm, but also their femoral neck (the most common location for a hip fracture). Therefore, consistent exercise can be an effective method to treat osteoporosis. Please consult with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.

Get Bone Density Scans

It is recommended to get screening bone density scans—also known as a DEXA scan, bone mineral density test, or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry—once you turn 65 for women and 70 for men with no risk factors. Then, you should get these scans every two years after that. If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, it is recommended that you get DEXA scans sooner.

So, do weight bearing exercises really make a difference on osteoporosis? Yes, and Specialty Infusion Centers recommends using it as an integral part of your treatment plan.