So by now, you may have reached the point where, whether you like it or not, you’ve been told that one of the most important measures against osteoporosis is exercise. Whether to avoid osteoporosis or deal with it as a current condition, it matters not…the prospect of having to hop about, huffing and puffing on a daily basis, may seem truly daunting to some.
So you begin. And after a few weeks of trying not to lose your sanity along with your new tummy-tucking knickers, you might get to like it. And you will certainly feel the benefits, which makes it all worthwhile.
But then it gets boring. Yes, it’s a problem for everyone. The effort becomes too repetitive – and although you are achieving weight loss, firmer muscles, and no doubt helping your bones, it all becomes a little mind-numbing. So this might be the time to get creative. Let’s have a look at the new exercises that are trending (well…in some places and with some people).
Naked yoga: This may or may not appeal. The views that some yoga positions may present may be enough to send you screaming from your Downward-Facing-Dog position. But enthusiasts say they feel liberated and that it allows them to really focus on their body, and to go that extra inch in every stretch. So why not? But you may want to be sure to bring your own mat.
Spin Class with Karaoke: Fans say that singing along to their cycling exercise is invigorating. The sing-along karaoke session helps them to control their breathing and step up the pace when the beat moves up a notch or two. Singing can also make you happy, and let’s face it, it must relive the mind-boggling boredom of cycling while going nowhere. But those out of tune and off-key may put a different spin on the matter.
Anti-Gravity yoga: Now this way you can get to hang upside down like a bat, which you may have wanted to do for a very long time. This method involves a combination of Pilates and acrobatics performed in a hammock. The design allows you to swing and flip while you attempt a range of exercises. People say that it has helped them with back problems because it allows for amazing stretching and longer holds in poses. It, therefore, helps to align and decompress your spine, while also creating more flexibility and joint mobility. Flipping around in the air puts no stress on your joints, so give it a whirl.
Running backwards: This bright, new trend does avoid stress on the knees. It also uses 30% more energy so you will really feel as though you are getting a workout. The only problem, of course, is that you can’t see where you’re going – so a whole lot of negatives in that regard may put one off the idea. Can only be tried in really empty spaces with people who fall gracefully and never break any bones. Actually, on second thoughts, maybe scratch this one off the list.
Ganja yoga: If you missed the hippie movement the first time around, you’re in luck. This new trend offers “cannabis-assisted” yoga practice. You smoke pot before the exercises that are accompanied by music. This might be a tad controversial but those practising Ganja yoga report that they feel more focused and centred. But the classes are not just for anyone – you have to become a member first. Exercising while ‘high’ might be just the thing to alleviate the boredom of repetitive exercising.
Jukari: This is actual trapeze work. Are you ready? You hold onto a bar and swing above ground. This allows you to do a range of exercises without touching the ground that will tone the body like never before. There’s weight pressure on your arms and shoulders but the spine suffers no pressure. Could be fun – especially for those who just want a bit of a swing.
Kangaroo Jumps: For this, you need a special pair of boots. No surprise there. And once they’re on, you have the jumping power of a kangaroo, but hopefully not the mindset. This is a nice way to bounce if you are not a fan of trampolines. There is 80% less impact on your body and joints. You can hop, bounce, jump as much as you like. It’s great fun, an exhilarating workout, and little stress on the body.
Aqua cycling: This is cycling in the middle of a swimming pool – you have the resistance of an entire pool of water! If you’ve done water aquatics, you will know how much tougher even the gentlest underwater workouts can be. The best part is that of Aqua Cycling is that it is impact free on your joints, helping you to strengthen without harm.
Water walking: Oh, this is simple! It entails being trapped inside a human-sized hamster ball on water. You will be continuously bouncing and spinning, and will really have to work hard to remain upright and in control. So, it becomes a full body workout without placing any real pressure on the body, only working the muscles like they’ve never been worked before.
Samurai Sword Training: Also known as Forza, this one-hour class is high-intensity and combines Kendo and Jujitsu, two Japanese fighting techniques. There are three major movements to get down in this workout: half-cuts, full-cuts, and diagonal cuts (while making sure nobody gets cut). You hold the sword for the entirety of this class, leaving no time for breaks or repositioning throughout, ensuring one helluva workout. It’s a sort of mix of Judo and Karate, but bearing a sword. Nobody will mess with you after this. And you will have very happy bones.
And then the conventional…
You can do the tried and tested exercises always recommended for osteoporosis with feelings of confidence and security. Weight-bearing exercises are the best, but there are other things you can do without having to repetitively lift weights in a gym.
Dancing: Older adults who engage regularly in dancing, stand to increase their general physical fitness, as well as strengthening their bones. One of the most popular dancing for people of all ages is Scottish Country Dancing, which will keep you bobbing and bouncing in the most pleasurable sets of dances. That’s when exercise is really fun.
Walking: Walking and jogging will strengthen your leg bones since they’re supporting your bodyweight during this action. As you walk, the repeated pressure of your feet against the ground will stress your bones and make them stronger. The bounce we get with jogging really “loads the bones”. Going up and down stairs is also good. Don’t always look for the lift.
Love your bones! And occasionally, give ‘em something different to do. Mind, body and bones are all in the fight against osteoporosis.
NOFSA (National Osteoporosis Foundation South Africa)
NOFSA is the only non-profit, voluntary health organisation dedicated to promoting lifelong bone health. We focus on reducing the widespread prevalence of osteoporosis while working to find a cure for the disease, and by supporting research and developing programmes of education and advocacy.
Find out more about our work at: www.osteoporosis.org.za