Is it Safe to Exercise with Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis and menopause are closely linked; the decline in a woman’s oestrogen levels that leads to symptoms from hot flushes and night sweats to mood swings and vaginal dryness can also lead to a loss of bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis as a result.
People who have osteoporosis are more likely to break or fracture bones. Recovery from these kinds of injuries can be harder as you get older, so it’s important to do what you can to keep your bones as strong and healthy as possible.
Osteoporosis can be genetic, but there are still steps that women with a family history of the condition can take to manage their risk. These include exercise; there's no need to be scared of working out around the time of menopause, even if you already have osteoporosis.
In fact, the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) has recently published new guidance that aims to increase people’s understanding of the type and level of exercise that is suitable for doing even after an osteoporosis diagnosis.
What Level of Exercise is Safe with Osteoporosis?
The ROS has worked with experts in rheumatology, human biology, physiotherapy, bone physiology and muscle physiology to publish new guidance under the title ‘Strong, Steady and Straight: An Expert Consensus Statement on Physical Activity and Exercise for Osteoporosis’.
This includes a series of guides and videos that aim to raise awareness of safe exercise levels for people with osteoporosis, including post-menopausal women.
While a certain level of caution is necessary when exercising to prevent fractures if a person’s bones have weakened over time, the ROS is emphasising that the benefits of working out after an osteoporosis diagnosis actually outweigh the risks.
Indeed, remaining sedentary for long periods without exercise can lead to even more bone density being lost over time, while taking part in some physical activity can help to keep bones - and muscles - in the best condition possible.
Sarah Leyland, an osteoporosis nurse consultant with the ROS, explained: “We want people to be confident that being more physically active is very unlikely to cause a broken bone if you’ve got osteoporosis.
“It’s also really important that for exercise to be most effective at keeping bones strong, you need to combine weight-bearing exercise with impact and add in some muscle-strengthening activity as well. And, if you able - push yourself.
“We must stop the fear of exercise and get people with osteoporosis to exercise, to promote their bone strength, keep steady and take care of their backs along the way.”
Other Ways to Boost Bone Health After Menopause
Exercise is just one of the lifestyle factors that should go into looking after your bone health after the menopause. By the time you reach the post-menopause stage, your body’s oestrogen levels will have been low for several years, which is likely to have taken its toll on your bones and muscles. This is because this hormone usually plays a key role in keeping them strong and healthy.
Vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and calcium can also help to strengthen your bones, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of these from your diet. This means you should be eating plenty of leafy greens, fatty fish like tuna and mackerel, and leafy greens to help you to get the nutrients you need.
Vitamin D and calcium can be found in the Femarelle® Unstoppable supplements that we stock too. These are designed to be taken by women who are in post-menopause to provide support with symptoms common during this stage, including low bone density and vaginal dryness.
These menopause supplements also contain DT56a, an ingredient derived from soy, which may help to mimic the effects of natural oestrogen in your body. This could allow you to get a hold on a whole host of other menopause symptoms too, including hot flushes, mood swings, loss of libido, difficulty sleeping and a lack of energy.
Ultimately, it’s important to find the right menopause treatment and the right type of exercise for you, so you can carry on feeling healthy and like the best version of yourself throughout menopause.
Shop the full Femarelle® range available at Menopause Supplements here.