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Menopause is that time of a woman’s life when she finally gets rid of those five days of bleeding, cramps, and swings. It is the time when the reproductive period of a women’s life finally ceases. However, this freedom doesn’t come that easy: menopause is no joke! Between hot flushes, weight gain, and night sweats, and menopause also increases women’s likelihood of osteoporosis.
How are menopause and osteoporosis interconnected?
Have you wondered why they advertise calcium supplements especially for women? Research shows oestrogen levels start dropping as a woman enters peri-menopause. This can lead to significant bone mass loss, leading to osteoporosis.
Can osteoporosis be prevented?
There are many risk factors for osteoporosis that you cannot control like age, menopause, and a family history of osteoporosis. However, you can control other things like poor nutrition, inactivity, and smoking. You can improve your diet and start exercising to improve your bone health.
To keep your bones healthy you need certain nutrients in your diet especially calcium and vitamin D. Our body needs calcium to keep bones strong and it needs vitamin D to absorb calcium.
Here are some exercises that can help you build bone mass
Natural bone loss starts occurring around the age of 35. In order to reduce this, it is recommended that you do:
1. Strengthening exercises at least twice a week, focusing on your arms, legs, and back. You can use free weights, therabands, and theraloops.
2. Bodyweight exercises like squats and push-ups that also build resistance.
3. Weight-bearing exercises that are high impact and beneficial for bone strength, like aerobics, dance workout, skipping, Zumba, jumping jacks, burpees, etc.
4. Balancing exercises like walking on your toes, standing on one leg, walking in a straight line, shifting your weight from toes to heels while standing, etc.
5. Postural exercises like chin tucks and shoulder squeeze.
6. Yoga poses like warrior pose, tree pose, triangle pose, bridge pose, and cobra pose.
These exercises can help you manage osteoporosis
There is no one single plan for managing osteoporosis for everyone. Your physical therapist will devise an exercise plan based on your body mechanic, posture, resistant weights and also advise you to do weight-bearing exercises. Weight-bearing exercises are performed with your feet or your arms fixed to another surface or ground.
For starters, you can do simple resistance exercises on a chair. Like:
1. For shoulder strengthening
Note: You can do this sequence with the help of either water bottles or a resistance band.
2. For leg strengthening
All these exercises can improve your flexibility, balance and muscle strength– thus helping you manage in osteoporosis. But depending on the stage of your osteoporosis some moves like bending can lead to fracture. Hence it is extremely important to take proper guidance from your physical therapist to know which exercises are safe for you.