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    Getting Older and Exercise
    socalmaria posted:
    Am getting concerned about appropriate exercise as I get older. I have read that the risk of fractures is higher for someone older who may have a lower T-score than for someone younger with a higher T-score. Does it make sense to decrease the intensity of exercise as you get older? I am rather fit for my age but am getting older like everyone else. An endocrinologist told me there was no reason I couldn't play tennis a couple of years ago but the Nof booklet doesn't recommend Tennis for someone with osteoporosis. I have osteoporosis with a T score of -3. MDs usually aren't helpful with advice on exercise.

    I am tempted to stick with just walking and light weights for weight training. It is very difficult to sort out what is best in regard to exercise. And it is important to do something you enjoy!
    Tomato05 responded:
    How old are you?

    I am 46 with severe osteoporosis (worse score than you); I started taking exercise seriously when I was 42.

    Over these 4 years I have steadily (but very slowly) been increasing my exercise in frequency, variety and intensity. The effects were remarkable - I am much stronger, fitter, flexible. Best of all: fractures have stopped happening!

    I go to the gym 6 times a week: 3 days of jogging, and 3 days of walking uphill & weight training. As soon as I can do 3 sets of an exercise (10 repetitions) I increase the weight somewhat. I lift quite heavy now, and people who don't know, would never guess that I have osteoporosis.

    Try to challenge your body a little, and it will respond and amaze you....
    bonebabe responded:
    You're right, older people do fracture more easily than younger ones and their recovery period may take longer. But....don't stop exercising! Balance is key in this as we age. Older people tend to fall backwards, affecting the hip while younger people fall forwards using hands to break the fall. A balance class would be good for you because it increases strength and improves balance. Tennis is tricky due to body posture and the increased chances of fracture when bending and twisting. What about dancing? That's wonderful exercise and fun too. Tai Chi is also a good choice as it incorporates exercise and balance. Walking and light weights are fine too. Just stay active, but be smart about it.
    socalmaria replied to Tomato05's response:
    Thanks for your reply. I am so fit now and I don't want to limit my activities unnecessarily.
    socalmaria replied to bonebabe's response:
    Appreciate your reply. Hard to make judgements because I am at the top of the charts in fitness when tested. I don't want to limit myself unnecessarily and deteriorate! And no fractures at this point. Have given up Tennis to spend time in the gym. Tai Chi bores me. And I am a poor dancer. I will explore a balance class but haven't seen one available.

    I also do some safe Pilates and Yoga.
    Tomato05 replied to socalmaria's response:
    I think it was a very wise swap to change tennis for the gym. One really twists and turns your body in funny ways when playing tennis, and could very easily slide and fall, breaking something, hurt your back or tear a muscle. Besides, hitting the ball with only one arm neglects the other arm!

    Tai Chi bores me too, and I cannot dance either! You sound really fit and you are doing a variety of exercise, which is perfect. If you could just also keep your diet good and healthy, with lots of calcium and vitamin D, you are doing the maximum.
    Deborah T Gold, PhD responded:
    You know yourself better than anyone else. You know if you are likely to fall playing tennis or golf or any of the other sports that are not specifically forbidden for people with osteoporosis (like sky diving, bungee jumping or ski jumping)!

    If you have played tennis for many years and have been safe, then you may well be fine with continuing it. It is all a matter of risk. The problem with tennis is that you can fall, slide, and get hit really hard by a ball. Maybe doubles is a better approach, where your area of responsibility is smaller.

    On the other hand, if you prefer to walk and work with weights, that is great too! It IS important to enjoy your exercise but to also be sure that it is safe.
    hookedonexercise replied to Deborah T Gold, PhD's response:
    I'm in my 60's and have been exercising for over 20yrs pretty much regularly. What about doing Zumba at my age. I do have some arthritic changes in my knees
    Dotre replied to Tomato05's response:
    How much do you increase the weight after the 3 sets? I have, pretty much, kept the same weight for each machine. My heaviest weight is 110 lbs for arms. I think what you're doing may help me more. I just turned 60 and I'm starting Forteo in August. I walk and lift weights 3X's a week.
    phototaker replied to hookedonexercise's response:
    I gave up yoga and pilates, as it hurt me so much and I didn't want to do anything harmful with twisting or turning.

    I do swim aerobics(which doesn't help bones) and Zumba. I have 3 different Zumba instructors. Since I have oseopenia, I don't do any jumping in the air, twisting, or bending straight down. I modify in all three classes. One instructor jumps throughout the whole class. I just do the dances on the floor with no jumps, and am still moving pretty vigorously.

    The other instructor does twists and turns. I sat out the day that was very twisty and just danced in place off to the side. I know I'm getting a great workout, as I sweat a lot during the dancing, and my heart rate is up for the hour. I explain my modifications to all 3 instructors and they understand.

    If you have arthritic knees, it might be hard on them. You can try it, to see how you feel the next day. Swimming is so much more gentle on your knees, but won't help with your bones. It will help your body feel good though, and you won't be hurting. I wear a swim belt and go into the deep end. I move constantly the whole time with my arms and legs.
    hookedonexercise replied to phototaker's response:
    Phototaker, thanks for the info. I have been waiting to hear from someone about Zumba so haven't taken any classes or even sat in on one. I have modified my exercise routine now from dance aerobics to just walking at lunch daily and since I have a recumbent bike, do that on my off days when possible. Even while biking, I notice some knee pain and I try to bike 1/2 hr to 1 hr tops. I'd like to keep in an exercise program that helps with my bone mass as it is still pretty darn good. I was told that it was like a 20yr old!! I guess my knees are the price I am paying now for doing all the twists and turns in my 40's doing dance aerobics. There was a time this past winter when I went out to walk and found I was limping back. I think it was due to the weather change from inside to outside because as soon as I got back inside, my limp went away.
    Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS replied to hookedonexercise's response:
    There would likely be some benefit to bone density from doing Zumba but I am concerned that this type of activity could cause a flare up of the knees. This could limit general activity and eventually decrease your ability to do weight-bearing activities. My suggestion is to consider strength training which can benefit bone density, and when done properly,
    can decrease the symptoms of arthritis in the knees. Strengthening around the knee joints likely improves the shock absorbing ability of the knee and provides stability which can decrease pain from arthritis. It would be best to meet individually with a physical therapist to learn the best exercises for your knees. A physical therapist can help you find exercises that are comfortable for you and do not cause pain. The PT can also individually tailor the exercises to meet your needs and adjust them when necessary. The strength training program could eventually be done at a fitness club or in the home. And, while they are at it, work with the physical therapist on a general strength training program to address all areas of the body for general health, including bone health. Also, keep up the walking as you are able to benefit cardiovascular health and bone strength.
    phototaker replied to Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS's response:
    I would also suggest to do the swim aerobics as the water is so forgiving. It would help you strengthen around your knees more. As I said before it wouldn't help with your bones, but I know people who have arthritis or even knee replacements, and they have used the water to help heal better. This one gal in my class started with the water aerobics(with a weighted belt and in the deep end of the pool)and slowly did movements with her legs until weeks later, when her knees started feeling better. You would need to talk to someone at the gym about not kicking your legs outward while in the water or sharp moves OR a physical therapist, of course.

    I think it's smart to keep up the walking like Karen said. That's the most important for your bone strength. Depending on the teacher, Zumba does have a lot of knee activity, salsa, cha cha, twisting, turning, bending, etc.
    phototaker replied to phototaker's response:
    I talked to my swim teacher today and she said you can sit on a bench or chair at home and just lift your legs slowly up and down while watching t.v. This will strengthen the muscles above your knees and make your knees feel better. Of course seeing a good physical therapist is the best idea. What might be good for one person, might be harmful for someone else.

    What I meant to say above about the Zumba was that I danced to the side just during one very twisty dance, which had the whole class moving left and right in very twisty moves, dangerous, if one person fell. You have to try out different Zumba teachers that may do what you like and you feel safe during their dances. Again, modify...but first talk to a P.T. before you try anything new.

    When I had back and shoulder problems(frozen shoulders in both shoulders at different times), the physical therapist put me through a routine to strengthen myself more with machines, small weights, and movements on a mat.
    An_223964 replied to Tomato05's response:
    It's good to hear you have been able to make significant changes to your health thru increased exercise. I'm about the same age, have osteoporosis and menopause is around the corner too, which will only worsen it.

    I've been exercising moderately for years and still ended up with it, but have been recently increasing the frequency, and amounts of weights in hopes that it will help.

    Do you also take drugs for it? It's been recommended to me by my Dr., but I'm concerned about the serious possible side effects, especially since I already have acid reflux from other meds.

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