I recently took part in the, “Freedom From Fractures” screening event in Birmingham and Northville, Michigan, speaking about bone health and screening participants. If you are over 45, this simple screening (Fore Fracture Risk Calculator) can give you valuable information on how to reduce your risk of having a fracture based on your personal health history.
At my studio, Gentle Pilates, in Novi, MI the number of clients with Osteoporosis is increasing.
Osteoporosis is a disease where bones are weakened and can easily break especially in the hip, spine, and wrist. Bone is considered living tissue. Throughout life, this tissue is broken down in the body and replaced with new bone. For some individuals, the bone continues to break down but is not easily replaced with the new. The inside of a healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. When afflicted with osteoporosis, this honeycomb structure develops larger spaces that indicate loss of bone density and strength.
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.
I am always asked: Is Pilates is safe for those with low bone density? So, here is a quick answer:
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, especially around the spine and major joints – hips, knees, shoulders. 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. A Pilates professional that has experience with osteoporosis will know how to safely assess and teach proper movement and exercise. After regular practice, this movement becomes natural and can then be leveraged in day-to-day activities outside of the studio. 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
Pilates exercises for osteoporosis are safe for people living with the condition. However, not all Pilates classes cater to people with osteoporosis. “Three-quarters of the exercises in traditional Pilates need to be modified for someone with osteoporosis.” Make sure you are training under the direction of a well trained instructor.
And one quick word about posture: At Gentle Pilates we evaluate you- your posture, because standing straight with great posture and keeping a neutral spine is the most important safety tip to follow when exercising, especially with osteoporosis.
One of the first things I do as a Pilates instructor is observe a person’s posture. Good posture is the position of the body that puts the least stress on the muscles, joints, and ligaments when sitting, standing, or lying down. The spinal column is the foundation the body supports itself on. When you look at it from the side, you can see that there are three main curves in it.
The neck (cervical) region and lower back (lumbar) region of the spine have inward curves. The mid-back (thoracic) region has an outward curve. These curves have a normal angle, which is the neutral position of the spine. Maintaining this neutral position puts the least stress on the back and neck.
If you slouch while sitting or standing, you lose the normal inward curve in your lower back. You also increase the curving in the mid-back and neck area. Doing so puts undue stress on the whole spine, because it over-stretches some muscles while tightening others. Also, your head isn’t resting on top of your body then. This forward head position fatigues the neck muscles, leading to increased tension and pain. In good sitting or standing posture the head and upper body are balanced on top of the lower back and pelvis, maintaining the normal curves of the spine. This minimizes the stress on the muscles, ligaments, and spinal discs.
Maintaining good posture requires you to be aware of what good posture is and how it feels. Also, you need the strength and (more importantly) the flexibility to achieve the proper position.
If you are interested in taking part in the simple screening (Fore Fracture Risk Calculator)or more information on achieving stronger and health bones, please contact me. I look forward to helping you achieve your goals.
If you are interested in attending one of our buff Bone Classes or Gentle Pilates class, contact us.
New classes in October (schedule and registration coming soon)
We offer private sessions and group classes.
Gentle Pilates Mat Class
Buff Bones Class
This is a great class for those wanting to improve their bone density and create stronger bones. A great class!
Yoga For Osteoporosis
The class will be held at: 23915 Forest Park, Novi MI 48374