Osteoporosis is a common condition causing bones to become brittle. This occurs due to the bones losing minerals such as calcium, quicker than the body can replace them. This ultimately leads to a loss of bone thickness or density. As bones become brittle, the risk of fractures increases, particularly in the hips, spine and wrists. Osteoporosis commonly affects women more than men, with those over 50 more at risk. Osteopenia refers to the period before being diagnosed with osteoporosis, that is, the midpoint between having healthy bones and having osteoporosis. Once bone density reduces significantly, this is referred to as osteoporosis.
How to maintain bone strength
A key component that allows our body to absorb essential vitamins and minerals is exposure to Vitamin D (or sunlight). This is supported by a healthy diet and an active lifestyle including weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercise has a great effect on maintaining bone density. Weight-bearing exercise stimulates the body to lay down more bone and strengthen the areas under load. A range of exercises however is necessary to optimise bone strength, including working the entire body safely.
How can pilates help?
Pilates can assist with a range of conditions, one of which is osteoporosis. This is achieved by building general strength, flexibility and fitness. Due to the range of exercises available when using clinical pilates equipment (reformer and trapeze table), pilates provides a challenging way of providing load and weight-bearing to all parts of the body, including assisting with bone strength and aiding osteoporosis management.
Clinical pilates is run by physiotherapists, who have an excellent understanding of osteoporosis management as well as further training and qualifications in pilates. This means you will be thoroughly assessed and monitored, with a suitable program being devised for your individual needs. Areas that are beneficial for those with osteoporosis/osteopenia are balance, flexibility and strengthening. This will encourage the body to lay down bone and help prevent break down. Being monitored by a physiotherapist means you will not complete exercises that are unsuitable or risky for you and your condition, but also that you complete targeted exercises for your needs. This is important to ensure the risk of injury is minimised, hence why physiotherapist-guided exercise and advice is safer for those with (or at-risk-of) osteoporosis.
Pilates at Seville Health
Clinical Pilates is a fantastic way of managing osteoporosis and osteopenia in a safe environment where you can challenge yourself without compromising your bony structures. At Seville Health we run small group (two-three participants) classes, with no membership required; simply attend as often or as little as you like. Like any exercise, the key is consistency. All programs are individualised and tailored to your needs, with constant supervision from a qualified physiotherapist that are able to progress and challenge you as you improve.
To find out more about clinical pilates in the Yarra Valley, contact Seville Health or visit our website www.sevillehealth.com.au.