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Expert recommendation for osteoporosis: Strengthen bones through training
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoporosis is one of the ten most common diseases worldwide. Experts estimate that up to six million people suffer from it in Germany alone, and the trend is rising. Experts explain how to counteract the disease.
As the health insurance company Barmer writes in a current message, about five to six million people in Germany suffer from osteoporosis. Many of the patients affected by unstable, brittle bones avoid physical exercise for fear of falling. However, targeted, regular training makes sense as part of the therapy.
Bone loss begins earlier in women
It is normal for bone density to decrease with age. In some people, however, it decreases more than in others. If the bone density falls below a certain value, one speaks of osteoporosis, explains the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) on the portal "gesundheitsinformation.de". Older people in particular are affected - but far from all. According to the experts, bone loss begins earlier in women than in men.
“A low bone density increases the risk of broken bones. This can be a problem, especially for older people, because a break in old age is more difficult to heal and can have more serious consequences than at a young age, ”write the experts. However, because of a reduced bone density, you should not start to take care of yourself physically. “Because those who exercise less tend to increase their risk of broken bones. Physical activity strengthens bones and muscles, improves the sense of balance and protects against falls, ”says the IQWiG. Barmer also sees it that way.
Avoid further bone loss
"The primary goal in the treatment of osteoporosis is to avoid further bone loss, even to rebuild and thus prevent further bone fractures," explains Klaus Möhlendick, sports scientist at Barmer. According to the information, scientific studies have shown that greater stress on the body goes hand in hand with increasing bone mass and increasing bone density. With physical protection, however, both the mass and the strength of the bones decreased.
Training must be tailored to your own level of performance
Sports that offer a combination of elements of endurance, strength, flexibility and coordination make sense for osteoporosis therapy. This would prevent falls, or better absorb them, and support the reconstruction of the bones. “The reasons for a fall in osteoporosis patients are often insecurity when walking, lack of mobility and strength. In order to improve body control, special gymnastics with specific exercises train coordination and, in particular, balance, ”says Möhlendick.
According to the Barmer expert, yoga or strength training are particularly suitable for increasing bone density. A visit to the gym is not a must. With the right exercises, the training can also be carried out without equipment, but rubber bands or dumbbells are definitely helpful. "It is important that the training for osteoporosis patients is always tailored to their own level of performance, exhausting but not overwhelming. In addition, in order to be effective, it has to be carried out regularly and over the long term, ”explains Möhlendick. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Barmer: Counteracting osteoporosis with movement: strong bones through training, (access: 08.09.2019), Barmer
- Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care: Osteoporosis, (accessed: September 8, 2019), gesundheitsinformation.de