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Spinning, Lunges, & Squats -- Risky??
megmo84 posted:
Is spinning dangerous for the osteoporotic spine? What about lunges and squats with 10 pound weights?

As a longtime fitness enthusiast, I want to challenge myself but avoid injury. So far fracture-free and strive to keep it that way.

Thanks in advance.
Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Megmo84 -

While waiting for more response, I wanted to pass along these resources about exercise -

Osteoporosis Exercise - WebMD
Moving Safely - NOF

Do you mind sharing your exercise routine?

Wishing you continued enthusiasm and fracture freeness!
megmo84 replied to Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff's response:
6 days of exercise (1-hour sessions) plus 1 day of rest

I alternate days of cardio and stregth training

Cardio includes - recumbant bike, stair climber, elliptical, spinning in modified position with back straight (not curled over the bike)

Strength training
  • upper body (bicep curls, tricep dips, etc) using machines and 5-10 pound free weights
  • lower body using machines and body weight - walking lunges with 10 lb weights, squats with 10 lb weights, leg press, etc.
  • core work - planks, back extensions
  • flexibility - basic stretches

Having osteoporosis in the spine, I'm carefuly to avoid spinal flexion, twisting of the spine, and high impact activities (e.g. Zumba, running)
Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS responded:
Indoor cycling is similar to riding a road bike; the spine is flexed over if the handlebars are set properly and the cyclist is leaning onto them. This is correct form for riding, but not considered a safe position for a spine with low bone density.

The handlebars of a road or spinning cycle can be adjusted to decrease spine flexion by raising them up, above what is considered normal. Another option is to carry out the spinning class without leaning over to the handle bars. Cycling can be performed with good posture in the spine by keeping the trunk more upright, lifting the breastbone, and keeping the chin gently tucked down to lengthen the neck.

Cycling is an excellent aerobic/cardiovascular exercise. However, since riding an outdoor or indoor bike is very low impact, it would be helpful to perform other exercises that can stimulate bone by providing some impact.

Lunges would generally be safe if done with correct form. When doing a lunge, the trunk should be in a neutral position as described above; the hip, knee and ankle should be in a straight line when looking from the front to back; and the knee should stay over the ankle when looking from the side. To determine if the additional weight is safe, a suggestion would be that you should be able to do 12-25 repetitions to the point of fatigue. If you fatigue prior to 12 repetitions, it would be considered high-intensity exercise which may be risky for a person with low bone density.

It is great that you are without fractures. If a person has lost more than 1 1/2 inches of height from their maximal recalled height, they should suspect silent fractures and speak to their healthcare provider, even if bone density is normal or in the low bone density (osteopenia) range.

Good luck with your continued efforts for bone, and general, health!
megmo84 replied to Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS's response:
Ms. Kemmis -- Thanks so much for your expert advice. With the guidance of my spin instructor, I raise the bike's handle bars to allow for an upright position. My spin classes are supplemented with the impact of brisk walking and stairclimbing. Dumbbells are heavy, but not too heavy.

Sounds like I'm on the right track... Much appreciation.

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For more information, visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation website