Osteoporosis is a disease of low bone mass that increases the risk of fracture. Currently, 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a major public health threat for 28 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. One out of every two women, and one in eight men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.
Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent” disease. In the early stage, the individual feels nothing until a bone breaks usually in the hip, spine, or wrist. Bones weakened by osteoporosis eventually exhibit other symptoms such as loss of height over time, other bone fractures that occur easily, increased back pain, and a stooped posture.
Though, any woman can be at risk especially one with a family history of osteoporosis. Those with small bone structure and lighter body weight are also at a higher risk because there is less bone to lose than someone with more body weight and a larger frame.
Men may also be at risk. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (2015), “it is estimated that the residual lifetime risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture in men over the age of 50 is up to 27%, higher than the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer of 11.3%.”
Can Pilates Reverse Osteoporosis?
The good news is that bone is a living tissue. Just like a muscle, the bone can be strengthened. In many situations, stronger bones can slow and even reverse the effects of osteoporosis. Pilates helps to teach proper movement and weight-bearing exercises for strengthening the bones and the surrounding muscle.
The muscles that attach along the spine are small muscles, which make up the core that supports the spine. When these small muscles are strengthened through targeted exercise, the result is increased mass and stability to support the spine.
Pilates can also help by creating body awareness. It is also important to learn how to avoid contraindicated movements that can cause injury, such as flexion (roll downs and forward bend), side bending and rotation.
Clients diagnosed with osteoporosis often have a fear of falling and fracturing a bone. Pilates practice helps to create alignment of the joints and increase the body’s balance. A balanced body will help a person walk more efficiently and avoid falling.