It’s never too late to strengthen your bones and help prevent osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 80 percent of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis are women. With this disorder, usually related to aging, weakening bones lead to pain, decreased height and skeletal deformities. Here are some exercises the foundation recommends to improve your posture, flexibility, strength and movement.
To improve posture, try an exercise called the “corner stretch.” Stand in a corner of a room, facing the corner, with your arms raised at shoulder level. Step one foot forward and bend that knee, then lean on the extended leg and bring your head and chest toward the corner. Hold this for 20-30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg. Do this twice on each side, three times a week.
Stand straight and hold on to the back of a chair with one hand. Place your other hand on your hip and raise that leg straight out to the side, with your toes pointing forward. Lower the leg and repeat 10 times. Do the same with the other leg. Do this two to three times a week.
Prone leg lifts can help strengthen your legs and lower back. Lie face down with your hands at your sides and place towels under your forehead, shoulders and abdomen for comfort. Then, bend your right leg and lift your thigh off of the floor, keeping your foot relaxed. Repeat 10 times on each leg. Do this two to three times a week.
Toe raises can improve balance. First, stand straight and hold on to the back of a chair with both hands. Next, rise up on your toes as if lifting your head up to the ceiling. Then fall back on your heels. Repeat this 10 times a day.
A wall slide can strengthen your back and improve posture. Stand with your back to a wall, with your heels one shoe-length away from the wall. Keep your feet straight and shoulder-width apart. Then, place your buttocks, palms of your hands and shoulders against the wall. Tuck your chin in and slide up and down, bending your knees halfway to a sitting position. Repeat 10 times, two to three times a week.
Consult a physician before beginning any new exercise routine, especially if you have low bone density or have recently broken a bone. Make sure you completely understand the exercise before attempting it on your own.