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Osteoporosis Exercise: What is safe for your spine, and what is not

People with osteoporosis, I imagine, often wonder, "What exercises are safe for me?" With the vertebrae, we know the answers!

59 post menopausal osteoporotic women were each given different exercise regimes, and then they were tracked to see how each regime affected each one. These were the regimes they followed:

  • Back extension exercises only (like superman)
  • Trunk flexion exercises only (like sit ups)
  • Combined flexion and extension exercises
  • No formal exercise regime

They then tracked the women the these are the percentages of each group that developed a back fracture:

  • Back extension 16%
  • Trunk Flexion 89%
  • Combined Flexion and Extension:  53%
  • no formal exercise:  67%

So, what can you take away from this study (Sinaki, M, Arch Phys Med Rehab vol 65, Oct 1984)?

  • Hold things close,  lift with a squat, and if you want to strengthen your abdominals, lay on your back and pull your tummy in; while holding your tummy in lift one knee, put it down, then the other knee and keep your head on the bed or floor.  Make sure to strengthen your low back muscles

Avoid flexion exercises, like sit ups or such Pilates exercises as 100's. Avoid reaching far forward, especially with heavy objects, which will put a lot of pressure on the middle back.  Avoid bending over at the waist.