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Strengthening Your Bones Through Exercise: September 06, 2011

“This one is 50 pounds and I do two sets of 15,” says Wanda Nelson.

Wanda works hard at being healthy.

“I try to get here 2 to 3 times a week for one hour, do some cardio as well as the strength training.”

Her doctor diagnosed her with osteoporosis which put her at risk for bone fractures. Wanda went on medication and was set to a physical therapist.

“I worked with my physician and we had the physical therapy consult and then Kath worked with me and decided this is what I really need to do.”

The go-to agent in combating osteoporosis is calcium and drug therapies, but doctors are finding a secret weapon in the gym.

Wanda is using strength training to win her battle of the bone. Done on a regular basis, studies show eight bearing exercise slows down the loss of bone.

“As the muscles are contracting and pulling on the actual bones, in particular with strength training because it’s a strong pull, that encourages your body to lay more calcium down in the bones,” says Kath Kinross, physical therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.

“I actually started last fall, probably about October, so it hasn’t been that long but it’s worked,” says Wanda.

All her sweat equity paid off.

“I went from a poor bone density to a normal bone density in June and I’m off my medication, which is good.”

A common perception was that weight-bearing exercise was better left to the young, but that’s yesterday’s news.

“I’ve had lots of patients who’ve told me they had a dexa scan, a bone density scan, before they came to therapy and then they had another one maybe a year after they’d done the therapy and saw a significant improvement,” says Kinross.

Before starting any exercise program, you should always consult a professional.