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Pilates for Osteoporosis




Our bone is in a constant state of renewal – old bone tissue is broken down in our body and replaced by new bone tissue. As we get older (in general from age 35), the process of bone tissue loss becomes faster than the renewal, thus reducing the strength and density of our bones. An individual may be diagnosed with osteoporosis (or osteopenia – a milder form) if their bone density test result is below a certain threshold.


Osteoporosis in itself is not life threatening. However it leads to an increased risk in fractures, which can be dangerous, and may significantly affect the quality of life. Osteoporosis is often a “silent’ condition - many individuals are not aware that they have osteoporosis until they have a fracture.


Not all pilates exercises are suitable for individuals diagnosed with osteoporosis. Specifically, loaded flexion and rotation exercises (eg ab crunches, bending forward, twisting) lead to higher fracture incidences. A number of classical Pilates exercises incorporate these movements, and thus should be adapted or avoided. However, pilates as a movement system is very beneficial for the condition. The focus on breath, core and neutral spine enhances awareness on how to maintain good form to avoid fractures. In addition, the springs in the various pilates equipment (eg. Pilates Reformer , Cadillac, and Wunda Chair) are used for resistance training – which is essential to build bones, as well as train balance – essential for fall prevention which can cause fractures.


You should inform your instructor if you are diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, so that your instructor can develop a safe and effective program to support you.


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