Sunday, April 28, 2013

Osteoporosis and Pilates

One of every 2 women age 50+ will suffer from a hip, spine, or wrist fracture that is related to osteoporosis. Studies have shown that most fractures are related to activities of everyday life. Bending over to pick up a newspaper improperly, or a serious coughing spell, can be a life-changing event. While we often think of osteoporosis as a disease related to age, it is not.  When we have our Bone Mineral Density tested, we receive a T-score which compares us to a young adult. A standard deviation (SD) of -1 to -2.5 indicates osteopenia and a SD of more than -2.5 indicates osteoporosis.
Fracture risk doubles for every 1-point below. Once again, lifestyle interferes with a healthy life. Moving from the computer screen to the TV to the elevator keeps us in our sedentary lifestyle. We move less and bear less weight and end up with weak bones.

One of my concerns is the women who come to class everyday, especially Pilates, unaware of bone density issues or aware but quiet. Sherri R. Betz, PT, in her article "Modifying Pilates For Clients With Osteoporosis" says that some of the traditional Pilates moves can still be part of an exercise program, but should be modified for participants with osteopenia or osteoporosis. For instance, exercises like "the hundred" should be done with the head on the floor versus head lifted. The "shoulder bridge" is still an accepted exercise, but just not so high. The point is that if you think you could be shrinking, have it checked out and if need be, tell your instructor to get help to modify your movements.