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Physical activity in geriatrics, part 2

Author: Anna Ilyushchenko

Affiliation: Second-year resident

Russian Gerontology Research and Clinical Center, Moscow

Good afternoon!

Osteoporosis is one of the most frequently occurring pathology of elderly patients. It is associated with bone loss, high risk of fractures and subsequent immobilization, reduced independence of patients.

Selection of optimal physical activity is as important in therapy of osteoporosis as timely diagnostics and optimal drug treatment.

Such factors as absent deep tendon reflexes, slow rise from sitting, inability to tandem walk, confusion, poor strength, poor vision increase the risk of fractures. [1]

What exercises are most suitable for elderly patients with osteoporosis?

It was found out that most balanced ones are weight-bearing exercises, non-weight-bearing exercises and exercises for balance and flexibility.

Have you heard about the benefits of yoga for patients with osteoporosis?

Such physical benefits are especially helpful for people with osteoporosis because improved coordination and balance can help prevent falling, which is the main cause of fractures in people with osteoporosis.

Ten-year study of 741 Internet-recruited volunteers comparing preyoga BMD changes with postyoga BMD changes, used dual-energy x-ray absorptiometric scans. Results of the trial showed that yoga is safe and effective. It helps to reverse bone loss in the spine and femur but it has weaker indication of positive effects on the total hip measurement of the DXA scan. There is qualitative evidence of improving bone quality because of the practice of yoga. [2]

That sounds promising. In my opinion, this study is worth to be heard by patients with osteoporosis for their greater motivation in selection of daily physical activity.

  1. Paul Ullom-Minnich, MD, MPH, University of Kansas School of Medicine–Wichita, Wichita, Kansas. Prevention of Osteoporosis and Fractures. Am Fam Physician. 1999 Jul 1;60(1):194-202.

  2. Lu YH, Rosner B, Chang G, Fishman LM. Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Regimen Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss. Top Geriatr Rehabil. 2016 Apr;32(2):81-87. doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000085. Epub 2015 Nov 5. PMID: 27226695; PMCID: PMC4851231.

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