If your elderly loved one has osteoporosis, exercise is critical for strengthening his or her bones and preventing fractures. Weight training is especially important because it not only protects against further bone loss but also reduces the risk for falls. Home Care Philadelphia experts offer 5 tips to help your loved one exercise safely and effectively while managing osteoporosis.
1. Work with an Experienced Personal Trainer
A personal trainer who has experience working with seniors with osteoporosis can recommend exercises to build bone loss and help your loved one perform the moves safely, which is especially crucial if your loved one is new to weight training. A doctor may be able to refer your loved one to a physical therapist or other exercise professional.
2. Develop a Plan
Exercise experts recommend seniors with osteoporosis get a combination of strength training, weight-bearing aerobic activities, flexibility exercises, and activities that promote good balance like tai chi. In each of these categories, choose workouts your loved one enjoys so he or she is more likely to stick with the program.
3. Pay Attention to Pain
Although some soreness is natural when your loved one first begins exercising, he or she can expect muscle aches in the first 24 to 48 hours after a workout. Your loved one should stop right away if he or she experiences acute pain during the workout, and see a doctor if the pain is severe or persists for more than a day or two.
4. Know What Exercises to Avoid
Certain activities are unsafe for seniors with osteoporosis, including high-impact exercises like running and jogging and exercises that bend and twist the spine. These types of exercises can lead to compression fractures and increase your loved one’s risk of injury.
5. Don’t Get Discouraged
Though exercising regularly can increase bone density, your loved one might not see noticeable gains right away. In most cases, seniors with low bone mass who keep up with a regular exercise program can expect to see a gain of about 1 percent bone density each year. Though this may not seem like much, it makes a big difference when it comes to your loved one’s fracture risk.
Seniors can benefit in many ways from getting regular exercise. If your loved one needs help maintaining an exercise routine, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to assist with mobility, provide transportation to personal training sessions, and help with a wide array of everyday tasks. For more information on the live-in and respite care Philadelphia seniors count on, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (215) 645-4663 today to schedule a complimentary consultation.