Walking, Running, Jogging…Obviously I would start with the less weight bearing and gradually increase. Before getting into exercises (which will load the skeletal system) focus more on loading the body through your own weight. Eventually you can progress to load the skeletal system with exercises that require weight bearing!.
Fuel the movement,
Joan, I took this information straight out of the 8th Edition of ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription.
“The exercise recommendations for osteoporosis are categorized into two types of populations: (a) individuals at risk for osteoporosis defined as having one or more than one risk factor for osteoporosis (e.g. current low bone mass, age age and being female) and (b) those with osteoporosis.
Your 60-year old client has been diagnosed with osteoporosis and as a consequence the exercise prescription is different because of her diagnosis.
The objective of the exercise prescription would be to slow down the progression of the disease.
If you have not as yet, it is very important that you collaborate with someone who is experienced with working with this population.
If you are not yet aware, you should know that “there are no current established guidelines regarding contraindications for exercise for people with osteoporosis. The general recommendation is to prescribe moderate intensity exercise that does not cause or exacerbate pain. Exercises that involve explosive movements or high-impact loading should be avoided. Exercises that cause twisting, bending, or compression of the spine should also be avoided.”
Having shared the above following are ACSM recommendations for writing an exercise prescription.
Frequency: Weight-bearing aerobic activities 3-5 days week and resistance exercises two times a week.
Intensity: Moderate intensity (i.e. 40% to < 60% VO2R or HRR) for weight-bearing aerobic activities and moderate intensity (e.g., 60%-80%) 1 RM, 8-12 repetitions for resistance exercise) in terms of bone-loading forces, although some individuals may be able to tolerate more intense exercise. Time: 30-60% day of a combination of weight-bearing aerobic and resistance activities. Type: Weight-bearing aerobic activities (e.g., stair climbing/descending, walking, and other activities as tolerated) and resistance exercise (e.g., weight lifting). I hope this of help to you. All the best!
Another way to get the benefit of weight bearing exercise is to practice yoga. Moderate postures with longer holding, including standing poses, balancing poses, lying down backbends with pelvic stabalization, and postures lying on the back. In the latter two especially, the weight of your own body rests on the bones. I had a 50 year old female student, who practiced daily for 20 years. A bone density test revealed she had the density of a 30 year old. She attributed this to yoga.