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Osteoporosis. Now What? Part Three: Build Your Coa...

Osteoporosis. Now What? Part Three: Build Your Coat of Armor

You’ve educated yourself on safeguarding and building bones, now fortify them with your body’s own coat of armor – your muscles. Muscular strength means more than bicep curls and squats – it is a strategic plan to support your bones, decompress posture and strengthen muscular partnerships that assist balance and prevent falls.

Support the Most Vulnerable

Overlay the bones most susceptible to fracture with a corset of muscle mass. Like bone, muscles respond to usage, and sedentary muscles cause decline in the nervous system’s control, weakening reflexes and increasing fall/fracture risk.1

Back extensors are protective layers over the spine. When strong and flexible they increase spinal extension range, which further aids in building bone. Spinal extension exercises are shown to have long-lasting positive effects on spinal bone density.2 Pilates exercises such as swan and single leg kick extend the spine, and others typically done in flexion can be modified into extension.

Movement in the thoracic spine can be less accessible, causing overuse of the low back and neck and a weakened upper back. Be patient with small, focused thoracic extension that does not rely on low back engagement. This upper back strength minimizes overload placed into wrists in quadruped and plank positions – which helps build strong wrists and brace impact during a fall.

Cover the hip bones with strong gluteal muscles (e.g., medius, minimus, maximus) that protect the hip surface and increase pelvic stability, critical for active aging.

Create a Muscular Harness

Muscles support your body with strength – and functional exercise improves their control over movement. Muscular cross-patterning on the front and back of the body creates a harness to help the body react to force. For example, teach latts and obliques to work with the opposite side gluteus medius for healthy movement and heightened stability.

Muscular harnesses support balance – allowing you to be grounded without placing all of your weight downward. If you stumble, it becomes a counter force that holds your body from succumbing to a fall. Learning to differentiate leg and hip movement is also important for fall prevention –  so if a leg trips, the body can hold steady and pull it back into place. Practicing weight shifting exercises can prepare these responses.

A head weighs about ten pounds – so imagine the impact a forward head has on the spine. Not only does it pull it into dangerous flexion, it also places a heavy disadvantage on balance. Strengthening upper back muscles helps elongate posture, decompress the spine, and makes balance more accessible.

Resistance training protects bone, builds bone and improves balance and fall prevention reflexes. Studies show the inverse is also true – stagnation leads to deterioration. Lay a foundation on the most vulnerable areas and direct your body’s power in a positive direction for overall health and well-being.

Pretty Your Posture

A head weighs about ten pounds – so imagine the impact a forward head has on the spine. Not only does it pull it into dangerous flexion, it also places a heavy disadvantage on balance. Strengthening upper back muscles helps elongate posture, decompress the spine, and makes balance more accessible.

Resistance training protects bone, builds bone and improves balance and fall prevention reflexes. Studies show the inverse is also true – stagnation leads to deterioration. Lay a foundation on the most vulnerable areas and direct your body’s power in a positive direction for overall health and well-being.

To learn more, read parts one and two of this  article “Power and Patience” and “Bone Matters.”

 

  1. Minne, German Academy of Osteological and Rheumatological Sciences
  2. Sinaki, Itoi, Wahner, et al Bonem 2002

Julie Cheifetz

Julie Lyon Cheifetz, PMA-CPT, founder of Lifted Pilates® has been teaching Pilates since 2002, certified through The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA®), BASI Pilates® and PhysicalMind Institute™. She writes about Pilates, healing and wellness topics on her blog, and shares teaching information and videos on Instagram. Her story was recently featured in “Women’s Health” magazine. Learn more and connect with her: Website/Blog: https://liftedpilates.com Instagram: @liftedpilates

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