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Osteoporosis - How Pilates and Gyrotonic can help

Recently a few new clients with the diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia joined Moto. They all have some similarities: no regular exercise, over 50 years old, gave birth to one child or more. Therefore, this week I am going to explain more about this condition, and in what aspects Pilates or Gyrotonic can help.

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weak and brittle, making them more susceptible to fractures. It is more common in women, particularly after menopause, due to a decrease in estrogen levels. And if you have a medical condition such as arthritis, or if you took a 3-month long course of oral glucocorticoids, or if you are a smoker, you are more susceptible to osteoporosis. A bone density scan (DEXA) will usually be used for diagnosis. The procedure takes around 10-20 minutes, and different body parts will be examined. The most common body parts to be examined are your spine, hips and wrists. We usually look at T-scores to identify osteoporosis (this is the score comparing your bone density to a young adult). If it is at or below -2.5 SD, you are diagnosed with osteoporosis. You will then be either prescribed with daily or weekly oral medication or an injection every few months or annually.

Osteoporosis can have a significant impact on daily life, leading to chronic pain, decreased mobility, and an increased risk of fractures. However, you should not worry too much about breaking your bones too early, as some people who have osteoporosis never have any fractures in their lives! Breaking your bones or not also depends on how your daily posture is - whether you can keep sitting tall to avoid putting compressive forces on your vertebra (spinal bones), or whether you have good balance and proprioception that you do not fall even when walking or hiking on uneven surfaces, as most fractures come from a fall injury. So at this point, you can see that how Pilates and Gyrotonic exercises can be beneficial for individuals with osteoporosis: both exercise systems help to improve posture, decompress your spine, improve your balance and proprioception and reduce your fall risks.

Pilates and Gyrotonic are both known to be low-impact exercise and can be easily adapted to meet the needs of individuals with osteoporosis. It might not sound useful to osteoporotic clients when it is low-impact, but the jumping exercise with the jumping board on the reformer, effortlessly creates a safe environment to increase our bone density for clients with osteoporosis. This was safely achieved by simulating the jumping action- a high-impact movement- to replicate the dynamic loading in actual jumping to our bones. This was the secret of how we increase our bone mineral density in our pilates practice.

Furthermore, the grounding principle in Gyrotonic obviously allows us to activate our lower extremities. The suction feet, reaching our 5th line, push and pull principles and even the shivering exercise all allow us to actively recruit all our lower limb muscles and encourage our bones to “hit the ground”. The continuous practice not only gives us a free-moving body, but strong bones and full body decompression will also come along.

It is important to note that individuals with osteoporosis should always consult with a medical professional before beginning any exercise program. A qualified Pilates or Gyrotonic instructor can design a program that is tailored to the individual's needs and limitations. Come and try a Pilates or a Gyrotonic session, we guarantee that you will like the class! #bonehealth #osteoporosis #osteopenia #bonemineraldensity #exercisestrengthenbones

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