Written By: Deb Preachuk BRS, BPE
Corrective Exercise Specialist & Certified Foundation Training Instructor
A week ago, I received a fantastic question asking if the Introduction to Foundation Training Class I was about to begin would be suitable for someone recently diagnosed with osteoporosis. The message read:
I'm 58.....I just found out that I have full blown osteoporosis now and what I need to focus on is weight bearing exercises and getting back into a regular routine of walking........do you think this class would be especially good for that? So......what if I don't really have any 'major' aches and pains? Is this class geared for people who have had or currently have back issues or other more serious health issues? (That is not really me) My knees give me a bit of trouble but I'm thinking most of that is from nearing 60 years of age. Just wondering if this class would be a good fit for me or not. Thanks....
Foundation Training is more than just a back pain relief program and has many benefits which can help anyone with an osteoporosis diagnosis! But let's start with the basics to understand why.
Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to fracture due to a loss of density which measures the amount of calcium and minerals in the bone.
On it's webpage, Are You At Risk?, The National Osteoporosis Foundation states that 52 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis and have low bone mass. One in two women and one in four men aged fifty and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis. It is predicted that by 2025 osteoporosis will be responsible for three million fractures and $25.3 billion in health care costs per year.
Aside from lifestyle, nutrition and prescription medication changes, exercise plays a key role in preserving bone density as it naturally stimulates the cells responsible for the synthesis and mineralization of bone (osteoblasts).
According to the National Osteoporosis Association, there are TWO types of exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density: (1) weight-bearing and (2) muscle-strengthening exercises.
As reported in Mercola.com, weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercise combined with changes in lifestyle choices (mainly nutrition), is one of the most effective remedies to help combat the effects of osteoporosis. As you put more tension on your muscles it puts more pressure on your bones, which then respond by continuously creating fresh, new bone.
Benefits of Foundation Training for Osteoporosis
Foundation Training is in my professional opinion, perhaps the best kind exercise to be doing if you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis because it does BOTH.
It provides Non-Impact Weight-Bearing and Muscle-Strengthening movements that teach you how to engage postural and functional muscle groups while working against gravity. The exercises help improve strength without any pounding or risk of falling and assist in improving posture, balance and function in activities of daily living.
Specifically you'll learn to:
- Strengthen your posterior chain muscles (the ones which keep you from further compressing the spine and flexing/bending forward
- Lengthen and decompress the spine through weight bearing, non-impact anchored movements
- Engage and effectively use your diaphragm to breathe which helps elongate and restore the proper muscle-length tension relationship of the torso muscles and increases overall oxygenation. This is a more effective and healthy way to breathe.
One of the biggest concerns for a person diagnosed with osteoporosis is the increased risk of death due a serious bone fracture from a fall. Certified Foundation Training Instructor, Jeffrey FT, stated:
"Research shows that a 70 year-old who takes a fall has a higher risk of mortality over a two year period than someone with heart disease or cancer. Hip fractures in particular can be especially devastating - they can rob a person of all of their freedom of movement and start a fairly fast spiral into decline.
Stairs, and slick or uneven surfaces are especially heinous when it comes to triggering falls, and a person with a weak posterior chain has trouble stabilizing when going down stairs, or trying to compensate for a temporary loss of balance due to a slick or uneven surface. So while FT may not cure osteoporosis, it can go a long way towards preventing one of the most serious side effects associated with it - namely falling."
Foundation Training Accessorizes Your Regular Fitness Routine
Foundation Training is taught and performed in a slow and focused way, with an emphasis on how to set up and do the movements properly. You will learn the science behind the exercises in an easy to digest way, and have an opportunity to rehearse and master them so you can add Foundation Training to the other activities you love to do. This will let you continue to enjoy your other activities pain free and with a reduced risk of injury or falling.
Think of Foundation Training as an accessory that enhances all other exercise or fitness routines you enjoy. It literally is a foundation to build good posture and functional/athletic movements upon! Once learned, they should be used as a warm up for every other workout/fitness activity you like to do. Foundation Training "turns on" or "wakes up" the muscles responsible for proper movement.
Perhaps it's best summed up in the words of my late friend and colleague, Steve Toms. To me, Foundation Training
"takes your body (which is currently in a state of vulnerability) and teaches it to change to a place of stability so you can really live as you move towards vitality!"
So, the GREAT news is, that after I took the time to explain all this to the individual who first wrote me, she replied
"This sounds like a perfect fit for me.......thanks for all of the great information. I am going to be signing up!!! THANKS!"
Osteoporosis is a serious disease that affects millions of Americans. With Foundation Training, proper postural alignment, a balanced diet, and regular exercise you can offset the negative and often painful effects. If you're unsure, contact your doctor. Or if you have symptoms, follow the lead of my client. Consult a Certified Foundation Training Instructor or Corrective Exercise Specialist to help you develop and implement a weight bearing and strength program that will ensure you maintain a strong posterior chain and good postural alignment.
Stock Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Head Photo Credit: Ruby and Roxy Photography
Author: Deb Preachuk is a Corrective Exercise Specialist and the founder/owner of Pain Free Posture MN.
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With over 25 years in the health and wellness field, Deb helps real people transform real-world chronic pain challenges into achievable results. Deb infuses her teaching with an honest, open and down-to-earth mix of chronic pain relief therapeutic modalities training techniques to make the concepts of pain relief and body/mind transformation accessible and achievable!