If you’re fighting for your bone health, it’s good to have an arsenal of well-chosen products at your disposal. Many of the things I list here have been mentioned in other posts. Rather than linking to them all on this page (because I’ll probably miss some), I recommend you click on “Search by Topic” scroll to “resistance bands,” or “exercises for osteoporosis of the hip.” All the posts that deal with resistance bands or exercises for osteoporosis of the hip will then appear in truncated form for your perusal.
In no particular order, here are a few things I believe actually will help your bone health:
Yoga for Osteoporosis: The Complete Guide I talk about this book non-stop, because this program was my primary form of exercise during this past year while I was trying to turn my bones around. The results speak for themselves. 10 months later I moved from osteoporosis to osteopenia, gaining +.90 in some vertebra. You can read my full review here. You can read about the previous study here. (More links at the last link.)
Weight Vests. These are good for developing hip bone density. Despite manufacturer’s claims, they have not been scientifically or medically proven to develop spinal density. Also, if you have kyphosis or compression fractures, a weight vest would more than likely be contraindicated. Adjustable Walk Vest 22LBs” Look for a vest like this that has removable and variable weights, that has an opening in front (rather than needing to be pulled over your head), and is washable (because it’s going to stink after a while). To read my in-depth post on weight vests, click here.
My absolute favorite weight vest is the Hyper Wear. It comes with 10 pounds but you can purchase two more packs of five pound weights and bring it up to 20 pounds. This vest has become a daily habit with me. I wear it when I walk the dog. I wear it when I go for a run (be careful – it’s harder on your knees! Pay attention to your stride, being careful not to land on locked knees — always keep them bent, and to keep the knees in line with the hips and ankles — not letting them bow out or collapse toward each other. I wear this vest even while doing my yoga. I have not tried washing it yet, letting it air dry by laying it open on a flat surface near ventilation.
Rebounders and Jump Ropes: No, a rebounder is not a guy you date after you break up with the love of your life. It’s a mini-trampoline, usually with some kind of railing to hold onto. (If you’re looking at models without a rail, but you have osteoporosis, I think maybe you should reconsider!) Not recommended for people with severe osteoporosis (i.e., people who have sustained fractures), but they might be helpful for people with osteopenia or people wishing to prevent osteoporosis. Read about them here.
A jump rope is just a jump rope, although you can purchase them with weighted handles, which will give your deltoids (shoulders) more of a workout.
Various Balance-Enhancement Products: Since the number one cause of fracture is a fall, preventing them should be your number one priority. Here are a host of products to help you do just that. Also, this post has links to videos that demonstrate the difference between a balance pad and a balance board.
“Toning” Sneakers: I put the “toning” in quotation marks because I am not yet convinced that they do anything of the kind. NOF believes, however, they’re handy for improving your balance. Toning sneakers come in three price ranges: Insanely expensive (MBT), A Little Dear (Skechers Shape Ups) and Affordable (Earth). The Earth shoes do not have the full-on rounded sole, but they do have the lower heel, so they will change your gait and work muscles you don’t normally work, and they’ll definitely improve your posture. I reviewed toning sneakers in my earlier post about balance products, but had a second look at them here.
Resistance Bands/Tubing: I’ve posted a lot of different exercises where you use these. Infinitely variable, extremely portable, blessedly non-space taking, you should have some of these in your stable of exercise equipment. Depending on the thickness of the band, they can go from as light as roughly five pounds up to … the sky could be the limit depending on how you combine various bands together. Available at most sporting goods stores or at Amazon, you may be surprised at the selection they have. You also might find reading this post about the efficacy of resistance bands helpful. Hint: they work.
Pilates Ring: Some Pilates exercise are no-nos for osteoporotics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the Pilates ring (also known as a “Magic Circle”) as a resistance tool. I like using these to develop my inner and outer thigh strength, but you can also use them for an upper body workout. The ring usually comes with a print out of suggested exercises. Just don’t do anything that requires spinal flexion, and you’ll be okay.
Walking Poles: These are fantastic if you have balance issues (and even if you don’t). Make sure they’re Adjustable Walking Poles – Exercise” target=”_blank”>adjustable so you can tailor them for your height. They’ll help prevent you from falling, but additionally they place load bearing on your upper body which you normally wouldn’t get just walking, and they’ll increase your cardiac workout. They also help you maintain a more upright posture. Read more about them here.
Spinomed Brace: These have been clinically shown to improve muscle strength in the spine and thereby improve posture. They are an orthotic and not recommended for casual use, but rather for someone who already has compression fractures or kyphosis. You can order them online, but I would think you’d want to have them fitted by a physician. Ask your doctor about them.