Pilates for Osteoporosis

What is Osteoporosis?

As we age we become more prone to Osteoporosis, a disease that causes the bones to become weak and brittle, whilst it is largely considered a woman’s disease, though it does affect men too. It is estimated that 44 million American men and women suffer with Osteoporosis or osteopenia, a thinning of the bone mass (a precursor to the disease).

Research has shown that exercise is effective in preventing and reversing the effects and one of our suggested ways of exercising is Reformer Pilates. It is a form of strengthening exercise that can help prevent the disease and, when used with relevant modifications and precautions (which we do in our small, boutique studio, with a more personal touch), may reverse some of the effects of the disease.

Prevention and treatment for Osteoporosis:

1) Nutrition (watch out for Emily’s naturopathy perspective on this later this month)
2) Exercise to build and maintain strong bones, prevent falls and fractures and speed up rehabilitation. Weight baring exercises essential for this! Stress produced on the bones during weight baring exercise facilitates new bone growth. Of course, Reformer Pilates is weight baring, strengthening exercise.
3) Avoid Inactivity! Degenerative changes in the skeleton occurs after short periods of inactivity! Up to 1/3rd of the bone mass can be lost in just a few weeks.
4) Find the right exercise professional who can advise you appropriately, if you have established, significant Osteoporosis because too much strain on the bone may increase the risk of fracture.
5) Hormones play an important role in the synthesis of new bone, and maintaining the strength of bones (estrogen and androgens), also the parathyroid hormones, are important in forming new bone, so addressing hormone imbalances is important.

Does Pilates Prevent Osteoporosis?

Physical exercise is an important step in preventing Osteoporosis. Pilates is a form of exercise that helps to strengthen and maintain the muscle (which protects the bones) and also improves balances it is a fantastic option for anyone at risk of developing Osteoporosis.

Pilates also promotes muscle symmetry, helping to balance the body. The development of a strong core and pelvis reinforces good posture and can decrease the odds of falling.

Reformer Pilates equipment and exercises are particularly useful for prevention and treatment of Osteoporosis as the springs provide increased resistance to add stress to the skeletal system and assist in new bone formation.

Implications and Modifications:

A healthy person should eventually be able to perform the majority or all of the Pilates exercises (given some training and practice from our professional instructors). In the meantime, our instructors offer modifications (layers), to ensure safe practice and enjoyment and to help you achieve success!

Come and join me and find out how much more Pilates can help you feel good!

Elisa Saunders (Reformer Pilates, Pilates, Personal Instructor)