Osteoporosis Canada Launches New Exercise Recommendations

New multicomponent exercise recommendations combine muscle strengthening and balance training as a means of reducing falls and resulting fractures for people living with osteoporosis

TORONTO, June 23, 2014 /CNW/ - People with osteoporosis, and those at risk of developing it, can prevent bone loss, fractures and falls by combining specific types of exercises, says new recommendations that Osteoporosis Canada released today.

The group unveiled Too Fit to Fracture: exercise recommendations for individuals with osteoporosis or osteoporotic vertebral fracture at the Canadian Physiotherapy Association's (CPA's) Annual General Meeting. It focuses on multicomponent exercise programs that combine muscle strengthening and balance training.

Professor Lora Giangregorio from the University of Waterloo developed the recommendations with an international group of experts. They recommend that aerobic physical activity should be combined with balance and strength training.

"Strength training exercises are key to maintaining strong bones and increasing muscle strength", says Professor Giangregorio. "There is clear evidence that performing challenging balance exercises can reduce falls, especially if performed most days of the week. We propose a shift away from aerobic-only exercise regimes to those that emphasize strength training and balance training in addition to aerobic training, to achieve the greatest health benefits".

Falls remain the leading cause of hip fractures among older adults, causing 63 to 83 per cent of hip and non-vertebral fractures and about 45 per cent of vertebral fractures.

"With the release of this work, Osteoporosis Canada is providing clear recommendations, informed by the best available evidence, regarding the most effective exercises to help reduce the risk of falls and osteoporotic fractures," states Dr. Famida Jiwa, President and CEO Osteoporosis Canada.

Individuals with osteoporosis can learn how to move safely. Individuals at high risk of fracture should consider consulting a physical therapist with expertise in osteoporosis in order to design and execute an exercise program that reduces the risk of fracture.

 "Osteoporosis Canada's new recommendations will help physiotherapists and physical therapists design exercise programs that can help reduce the risk of fracture", says Helen Johnson, chair, CPA Senior's Health Division. "Many Canadians with osteoporosis avoid exercise because they are afraid of falling. Knowing that programs have been designed with these guidelines in mind will also help individuals remove barriers to exercise."

The new recommendations include expert opinions on how to move safely during every day activities, to avoid the risk of falls or spine fractures. Changes in posture, combined with changes in bone strength, can increase the risk of spine fracture. Poor alignment can be improved with exercises that target muscles important for posture.

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About Osteoporosis Canada

Osteoporosis Canada, a registered charity, is the only national organization serving people who have or are at risk of osteoporosis. In keeping with our version of a Canada without osteoporosis fractures and falls, the organization works to educate, empower and support individuals and communities in the risk-reduction and treatment of osteoporosis by providing medically accurate information to patients, health professionals and the public.

At least 2 million Canadians are affected by osteoporosis. One in four women and many men over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. However, the disease can occur at any age. There are approximately 30,000 hip fractures per year in Canada; data on spinal fractures is limited, but it is estimated that 65 per cent of vertebral fractures go undetected. For more information, visit www.osteoporosis.ca.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit www.uwaterloo.ca.

SOURCE Osteoporosis Canada

For further information: Media Contacts: Matthew Rocheford, Osteoporosis Canada Communications CoordinatorTel: 416 696-2663, E-Mail: mrocheford@osteoporosis.ca; Pamela Smyth, University of Waterloo, Tel: 519-888-4777, Email: psmyth@uwaterloo.ca