Osteopenia and Osteoporosis are a growing concern as it affects 1 out of 2 women and 1 out of 4 men by the age of 50. Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, increasing the risk of fractures, most notably in the hip, spine, wrist, and shoulder.
A specialized Pilates regime targets muscle and bone strength, directly aiding in the prevention of losing more bone mass and even reversing the effects of Osteoporosis. Pilates focuses on alignment with weight-bearing exercises while simultaneously strengthening the core, spine, and legs, which are essential to any individual with Osteoporosis or its precursor, Osteopenia.
Pilates is an effective and safe form of exercise for anyone with Osteoporosis or its precursor Osteopenia. Due to its proponents of low bone mass and risk of fractures, there are contraindicated Pilates exercises that should be avoided.
In general, it’s recommended not to lift more than 20lbs, avoid extreme activities that can be jarring on the spine such as skydiving or zip-lining and avoid extreme ranges of the spine.
Pilates exercises with forward flexion such as Chest Lift, Criss Cross, Single Leg Stretch or the Hundred are best avoided due to the pressure it puts on the spine. Loaded flexion exercises are also contraindicated and include exercises such as rolling like a ball, seal, roll over and open leg rocker. Though it may seem there are plenty of exercises in the Pilates repertoire that need to be avoided, there is also a plethora of exercises that are excellent for Osteoporosis along with numerous modifications available.