Building strength and increasing bone density with BRIO

After she was diagnosed with osteoporosis in March, Gwen Maniscalco knew she had to change her lifestyle to strengthen her muscles and reduce the risk of fractures in the future.  She had previously been diagnosed with osteopenia, but over the last two years, she developed osteoporosis.  The osteoporosis diagnosis was a wake-up call. Gwen knew she had to return to Baudry Therapy Center and get back on the “exercise-wagon“ to build muscle strength and increase bone density.


Gwen had always been active and enjoyed activities such as Pilates, bowling, walking, and exercise, but her fitness routine had become less frequent last year due to the pandemic.


Baudry’s physical therapist, Lauren Talley, listened to her diagnosis and her concerns. Together, they created a customized exercise plan.  Each time Gwen would meet her physical therapy goals, Lauren would push the target. This progressive physical therapy plan helped Gwen increase her muscle strength and balance.


“I started balancing on one foot on flat ground, but by the end of my physical therapy, Lauren had me balancing on one foot on a foam platform,” said Gwen. “She continually encouraged me to accomplish more.  I could definitely feel the burn.”


“Baudry Therapy Center gave me the confidence to return to strength training which I continue now with my BRIO program.  I have already recommended Baudry Therapy Center to several of my friends who have also been diagnosed with osteoporosis.”

Managing Osteoporosis with Proper Exercise

Managing Osteoporosis with Proper Exercise

managing osteoporosis with proper exerciseThe Doctor says, “You have osteoporosis, you should do weight bearing exercises.”  So get out there and do it!  If you are like most, your response is likely to be, “Ok great,  now what in the heck does do some weight bearing exercise mean?”

Should I run sprints, do sit ups, or pull downs? Swim, stretch, or do yoga? To help clarify, here are some things you should know about osteoporosis and how you can manage osteoporosis with proper exercise.

Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder characterized by compromised bone strength, predisposing one to an increased risk of fracture. Osteopenia is a lesser form of osteoporosis.

Bone health information:

  • 1 of 2 women, and 1 of 4 men 50 years plus have low bone density and are at risk of fracture.
  • The spine and the hip are the 2 bones most prone to osteoporosis and fractures.
  • Risk of spinal fractures increase as you go up the spine with the highest risk at the  T6-8 (mid back) vertebral levels.
  • Bone is a dynamic tissue, constantly re-modeling in response to stimulus (resistance).
  • Bone responds positively to the pull on the bone from muscles

Weight bearing exercises by definition are exercises that oppose gravity, but to be effective the exercises must:

  • Be specific to build bone in targeted areas.
  • Work to improve strength and balance.
  • Be of  moderate to high impact to maximize the benefit.
  • Be done for 30-60 minutes at least 3 days/week.

The following  exercises have been shown to increase bone density:

  • High impact aerobics (things like dancing, Jazzercise, jumping rope)
  • Weight training – weightlifting exercises
  • Running

These exercises have been shown to protect from the loss of bone:

  • Walking
  • Low impact aerobics

And these exercises have been shown to be ineffective with bone growth, and may result in the loss of bone:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Water aerobics

If you have osteoporosis that targets the spine and the hips, your exercise should include spinal exercise, particularly extension or back bending type exercise. Contrarily, exercises that should be avoided are exercises which focus on flexion or forward bending, like crunches (flexion exercises have been shown to increase the risk of fracture in those with osteoporosis.)

We know it can be confusing, but the benefits of doing the right exercise can be great, and you should start exercising as soon as possible. However, before you start make sure to do your homework.  Some forms of exercise may be ineffective, or even harmful if you are not careful.  Exercising to fight osteoporosis should be specific, of the right intensity, and of a type proven to help build bone.

For more information on osteoporosis visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation,  American Bone Health Organization,  or contact our office for more information.