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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Osteoporosis Exercises

Here are some exercises designed to prevent or treat osteoporosis by strengthening your muscles and bones and improving your posture and balance.
Before you try any of these osteoporosis exercises, check with your doctor or physical therapist. He or she can help you determine which exercises are safe for you to do and tell you how many repetitions you should do.


Standing Posture
Learning to stand properly improves your seated and walking posture. To practice correct standing posture :
~ Stand with your head, shoulders and buttocks against a wall, with your heels 2 to 3 inches from the wall.
~ Relax your shoulders and pull in your chin. Tighten your abdomen and buttocks.
~ Press your back against the wall, leaving room for your hand to fit flat behind the curve of your lower back.


Walking Posture
Walking strengthens your legs and heart improves your balance. To maintain proper walking posture :
~ Hold your head high.
~ Keep your back and neck as straight as possible.
~ Keep your chin parallel to the ground.
~ Gently tighten your abdominal muscles.
~ Let your shoulders move freely and naturally.


Wall Arch
To stretch your shoulders and calves and tone your back and abdomen :
~ Stand facing the wall, arms at your sides, feet 6 inches apart and 6 inches from the wall.
~ While inhaling, flatten your stomach and stretch both arms up to touch the wall (pic 1).
~ Exhale and lower both of your arms to the starting position.
~ While inhaling, reach up with your right arm and stretch down with your left arm (pic 2)
~ Exhale and lower your right arm to the starting position.
~ Switch arms. While inhaling, reach up with your left arm and stretch down with your right arm (pic 3).
Repeat each movement 5 times.


Chin Tuck
To straighten your head and shoulder :
~ While seated, look straight ahead.
~ Pull your chin in toward your neck, but keep looking straight ahead; don't let your head bend forward.
~ Push your hands down on your thighs to help straighten your back.
Hold this position for a few seconds. You'll feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Repeat this exercise 5 times.


Chest Stretch
To stretch your chest and straighten your back :
~ Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your back erect and look straight ahead.
~ Stretch your arms out to the side, keeping them level with your shoulders (pic 1).
~ Bend your arms at the elbows and bring your hands toward your chest (pic 2).
Repeat 5 to 10 times, depending on your ability.


Shoulder Blade Squeeze
To stretch your chest and strengthen your upper back muscles :
~ With your feet flat on the floor, sit slightly forward in a sturdy chair, keeping your back and neck straight.
~ Look straight ahead, bending your arms at the elbows (pic 1).
~ Gently move your elbows and shoulder blades back as far as you can and still be comfortable (pic 2).
Hold the position for 5 seconds while breathing normally. Return your arms to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times, depending on your ability.


Pelvic Tilt
To strengthen your lower back and abdominal muscles :
~ Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor (pic 1). Maintain a normal curve in your back; don't arch your back.
~ Tighten your abdominal muscles.
~ Roll your pelvis down to flatten your back against the floor (pic 2). Avoid using your leg and buttock muscles.
Hold the position for 5 seconds while breathing normally, and then relax. Repeat this exercise 10 times.


Back and Shoulder Stretch
To stretch your upper back and shoulder :
~ Lie on the floor. Bend your knees, tighten your abdominal muscles and stretch your arms above your head (pic 1).
~ Keeping your arms straight, spread them out and lower them until they're level with your shoulders (pic 2 and pic 3).
Hold the position for a few seconds while breathing normally. Then return your arms to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times, depending on your ability.


Back Posture Exercise
To flatten your upper back and stretch your chest :
~ Sit in a chair as shown, with your hand behind your neck (pic 1).
~ Inhale while gently moving your elbows backward (pic 2).
Hold the position for a few seconds, breathing normally, before returning to starting position. Repeat 5 to 10 times, depending on your ability.


Sitting Knee Extension
To strengthen your thigh muscles :
~ Sit with your back straight and your hands on your thighs. Tighten your abdominal muscles and look straight ahead.
~ Slowly straighten one knee while lifting your heel a few inches from the floor. Don't slouch or round your back.
Hold this position for a few seconds while breathing normally. Relax and return to the starting position. Repeat 5 to 10 times with each leg, depending on your ability.


Calf Stretch
To stretch your calf muscle, your heel cord and the back of your thigh :
~ Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart. Place your hands on the back of a chair for balance.
~ Bend your knees, flatten your stomach and straighten your back and shoulders.
~Slide one foot backward, keeping it flat on the floor, until your back leg is straight.
~ Lean your weight forward onto your bent front knee.
Hold this position for a few seconds while breathing normally. Repeat 5 times with each leg.


Upper Back Lift
To strengthen your back muscles :
~ Lie facedown on the floor with a pillow under your abdomen and hips (pic1). Use a rolled towel to cushion your forehead, if you wish.
~ Keep your arms at your sides as you tighten your abdominal muscles.
~ Keep your head in line with your neck and torso. Focus on keeping your shoulders down - don't let them shrug up toward your ears.
~ Inhale and raise your head and chest a few inches from the floor (pic 2).
Hold for five seconds, breathing normally, before returning to your starting position. Rest for a few seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times, depending on your ability.


Shoulder Strengthening
To strengthen the muscle along the back of your shoulder, the muscle on the back of your upper arm (triceps) and your upper back muscles:
~ Stand with one leg in front of the other, your hand on the back of a chair. Bend your front knee while holding a 1 to 2 pound weight in your opposite hand (pic 1).
~ Move the hand with the weight backward and hold for a few seconds (pic2).
~ Return to your starting position and repeat 5 to 10 times.
~ Perform the exercise with the weight in your other hand and with your opposite knee bent. Repeat on this side 5 to 10 times.
If your doctor approves, you can gradually increase the weight, but don't exceed 5 pounds.


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