Archive for the ‘Home Exercises / Physical Therapy’ Category
The purpose of good bone health is to prevent fractures. Most fractures happen as a result of a fall. If you do not fall, you decrease your fracture risk. How do you prevent falls?
Regular exercise will strengthen your muscles. Strong muscles are part of the solution. But you also need good balance. Good balance requires exercises to strengthen the muscles required for balance.
Balance exercises have been used for centuries to keep people limber and free from falling, and thereby, free from fractures. They are often taught in group sessions, but can be performed alone on any flat surface.
Tai Chi and Yoga are the best known ancient balance exercises. Daily, or at least 3 times weekly, sessions of 20-30 minutes will gradually improve your balance and prevent falls.
Less interesting, but easier to do anywhere, is simply walking on your toes for several minutes. More challenging is walking on your heels, like a penguin. If you can do that for 2 minutes straight, you have great muscles, strong ankles, and are unlikely to stumble, even on uneven ground.
Take Control Naturally by working on your Balance. Remember that proper nutrition is necessary for strong muscles and bones.
Jay Ginther, MD
Use them or lose them. Bones grow – or shrink – to meet their daily needs. You must be on your feet standing and walking every day if you want to be able to stand and walk. You must climb stairs most days if you want to be able to some days.
People forced to stay in bed, due to disease or injury, for days or weeks, have lost muscle and bone. Space Station Astronauts still have lower bone mass ten years after returning to earth.
Bones respond to constant weight-bearing and to impact. Therefore, walking on a firm surface strengthens your legs and spine more than bicycling, stair-stepper, or treadmill. Jogging and running apply more impact.
But remember, that a sudden increase in impact – intensity or duration – can produce stress fractures. Gradually increase the speed or duration of any exercise over weeks and months. Stretch before and after exercises for the sake of muscles, joints and bones.
Daily exercise is important, but alternating days of heavy and light exercise is even more important.
Take Control Naturally of your Bone Health. Light exercise daily. Longer or faster exercise 2 or 3 times weekly.
Jay Ginther, MD
Can you still do all the physical activities you want to do? Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are the key to enjoying your life, especially as we grow older. At ISCD last month we learned some tricks to maintain our ability to do everything we need to do for a full life.
As we age, we lose muscle mass (Sarcopenia). Loss of muscle mass leads to even faster loss of muscle strength (Dynopenia). Loss of muscle strength is a strong predictor of Fall Risk and Fracture Risk. Bummer!
Get your butt off the couch! You should be able to stand, then sit, then stand again for 5 cycles in 15 seconds. If you cannot, you are in danger of losing your ability to live independently. Loss of the knee extension strength needed to stand, even once, predicts mortality. Huge bummer!
There is no medication for loss of strength. We do have natural activities: Balance exercises (standing on one leg); Aerobic exercises (walking for distance, not speed); Progressive strength exercises (sit to stand to partial squat to stand….). Enough extra Vitamin D3 to get your level above 40ng/ml helps your muscles. And you MUST get enough Protein in your diet.
Jay Ginther, MD
Falls are the immediate cause of most “wrist”, shoulder and ankle fractures, and of many Hip fractures. Two or more falls in a year indicate a need for more than basic balance and strength training. You need to analyze why you fell. Then work to avoid repetition. Formal Physical Therapy, teaching exercises to do at home, is best.
Major Fall Risk Factors: loose rugs and minor step-ups into a room; the scuffing gait needed for slippers, sandals or clogs; poor vision and bifocals; bending to pick something off the floor without hanging on to support; not using chair arms; slow gait; and not using a cane or walker on uneven surfaces (out-of-doors). If you have any of these, work to eliminate them.
Walking for exercise does NOT reduce falls. Even walking over a mile daily. Balance and strength training DO reduce falls. The simplest to do at home is to stand on one leg. The goal is 30 seconds. Many of us need to hang on to something solid at first and gradually work up to “no hands”. PT will teach additional exercises as you improve.
Lifestyle Integrative Functional Exercises! Look at all daily activites, then modify your lifestyle to avoid Fall Opportunities. Avoiding Falls is just as important as taking osteoporosis medications for Avoiding Fractures.
Take Control Naturally. Avoid Falls. Avoid Fractures.
Jay Ginther, MD