How to Manage Osteoporosis with Exercise

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seniors doing yoga outdoors

Aging, obesity, and chronic health conditions, among other things, can lead to limited mobility and strength. And these issues can in turn contribute to spine, muscle, and joint problems.

Starting at age 30, our bones decline in density. And if bone mass gets dangerously low, it’s called osteoporosis. Physical exercise, particularly if it’s weight-bearing, can help you better manage osteoporosis, including its side effects.

According to the Report on Ageing and Health 2015, a spine, muscle, and joint report prepared for the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and sarcopenia (muscle loss) affect millions. And in Canada, osteoporosis affects two million Canadians, but many people only get diagnosed after they break a bone.

For many, spine, muscle, and joint problems start with mild symptoms, such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. As a result, the discomfort may prompt you to limit activity, leading to weaker muscles. You end up losing more range of motion and things start to increasingly hurt.

Using muscles and joints incorrectly makes it worse. And unfortunately, people may stop exercising and begin limiting their everyday activities. An inactive lifestyle can contribute to many chronic conditions, including osteoporosis. Inactivity can also lead to balance issues, which puts you at risk of falling. Plus, people who have multiple conditions must often juggle a wide range of medications and all their potential side effects.

These conditions can lead to severe outcomes, such as falls that shorten your lifespan. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

What Exercises Help Manage Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis?

Being physically active can turn things around for those with conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. That’s the power of exercise.

Exercise impacts health, but it must be the right exercise. Controlled movements that build strength and range of motion are ideal. A combination of activities, such as swimming, cardio gym machines, and low-impact aerobics, can be effective. However, weight-bearing exercise works best to help you manage osteoporosis.

For those whose range of motion is limited, yoga and Pilates can be helpful, along with further support from chiropractic care, massage therapy, and physiotherapy.

The right activity for the right person can make a big difference. Dr. John Antoniou, an orthopaedic surgeon and former president of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, says: “You won’t reverse the damage that’s occurred, but it’ll maintain the function that’s still there.”

Exercise can help you manage osteoporosis to slow the rate of bone loss that comes with this age-related bone disease. It can also reverse some age-related muscle mass loss. With less pain, stronger muscles, and better balance, you’ll find you can do much more.

senior woman lifting weights

Where does chiropractic care fit in?

A chiropractor can prescribe a therapeutic exercise program to help increase your strength and range of motion in affected areas. This program can include stretching, strengthening, postural awareness, balance training, and neuromuscular exercise. However, exercise as a therapy to help manage osteoporosis can be challenging because your instinct is to stop moving once you have mild pain. An integrated approach between a medical doctor who is supporting patients with chronic health conditions and a chiropractor assisting in managing the muscle, spine, and joint components will help you become more active.

While the mentality is often to stop doing an activity because it hurts, when it comes to arthritis, you need to push through discomfort but stop when you feel true pain. Guidance from health care professionals on “hurt versus harm” can make sure exercise is healing, not hurting.

If you don’t enjoy traditional exercise, such as going to the gym, try focusing on doing everyday life activities such as walking, gardening, and playing golf.

Currently, only one in five Canadian seniors get the recommended 150 minutes of activity per week. With help from a healthcare professional, like a chiropractor and your integrated care team, you can break this pattern to manage age-related conditions like osteoporosis better.

To learn more about how chiropractic care and massage therapy can help you manage your osteoporosis, contact the Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage Therapy Clinic at 905-427-3202 and book a consultation with a member of our wellness team.


With content from the Ontario Chiropractic Association

7 Reasons to Incorporate Walking Into Your Daily Routine

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At Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage, we understand the importance of keeping your body moving!

Chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera are spine, muscle, and nervous system experts and encourage you to incorporate walking as part of your daily routine.

Here’s why:

1. Walking is good for your brain.

Walking boosts blood flow to your brain, decreasing your stress hormones and releasing endorphins. This helps improve your mood, lower your chance of depression and reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

  • Two hours of walking a week can reduce your risk of stroke by 30%.
  • A 40-minute walk three times a week protects the brain region associated with planning and memory.
  • A 30-minute walk a day can reduce symptoms of depression by 36%.

2. Walking is good for your bones, muscles and joints.

Like other weight-bearing activities, walking helps maintain bone health. Four hours of walking per week can reduce the risk of hip fractures by up to 43%.

Walking up and down hills increases the activation of the hip, knee and ankle muscles. The steeper the grade, the bigger the benefit.

Walking increases the circulation of synovial fluid around your joints, providing essential lubrication and nutrients to cartilage, the tissues that act as a cushion between your bones.

3. Walking can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Walking at least 30 minutes per day is linked to lower body weight, body fat and waist circumference. A daily one-hour walk can cut your risk of obesity in half.

4. Walking is good for your digestive tract.

By taking a walk after a meal, you help your food move your digestive system, reducing the incidence of bloating and digestive problems.

5. Walking can help manage diabetes.

Diabetes affects approximately 2.5 million Canadians, with over 200,000 cases being diagnosed every year. Researchers around the globe have all found that regular exercise, along with dietary changes, can help manage diabetes. Walking can help reduce insulin resistance, keeping blood sugar levels balanced and energy levels even.

6. Walking is good for your heart.

Studies have shown that exercise lessens your risk of developing heart disease because it helps reduce the amount of fats and cholesterol in the body (both play a role in damaging your arteries). A daily 30 to 60-minute walk increases your heart rate, improves blood flow and helps your heart pump more efficiently, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

7. Walking can help you live longer.

With all these health benefits, it only makes sense that walking increases longevity. A mere 75 minutes a week of brisk walking can add almost two years to your life!

Enjoy the warmer weather and improve your overall health by making walking a part of your daily routine.


At Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage, we provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.

To book an appointment or learn more about the chiropractic and therapeutic massage therapy services available at our clinic, call 905-427-3202.


Image courtesy of Canada Walks. Inspired by content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association, MyFitnessPal and Canada Walks.