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Non-Medical Alternatives for Treatment of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a problem many aging adults must face. This disease causes loss of bone density as well as bone deterioration. Currently, osteoporosis is treated with medications such as bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates slow down bone degeneration. However, bisphosphonates may be unsafe – especially for long-term use.

Light weight training is one way to treat osteoporosis.
Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images

Instead of using medications such as bisphosphonates, aging adults can receive an increase in bone density by engaging in aerobic activities such as walking and running. With proper breathing and heel-to-toe walking techniques, aerobic activities have little to no side effects.

Other types of exercise may be more beneficial than aerobic exercise, such as strength training. Too much of this type of exercise can be counter-productive, however. The benefits of weight-training exercises vary with the age and strength of the individual.

A new exercise style that is becoming popular is whole body vibration (WBV). This exercise is used in training astronauts, but anybody can do it. The vibration exercises are done on a machine. The machine has a platform that vibrates. The user stands on the platform and sets the number of vibrations per second. This technology stimulates muscle contractions. The benefits of vibration exercise include muscle strength, decreased back pain, increased circulation, and other benefits.


The New England Journal of Medicine
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