Osteopenia or Osteoporosis? Try a weighted vest
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis affects 54 million Americans, mostly women. Millions more Americans are estimated to have osteopenia (low bone mass), putting them at risk for osteoporosis.
We typically reach our peak bone mass density around the age of 30 and then spend the rest of our lives trying to maintain as much bone density as we can.
From an exercise perspective, we know that weight bearing exercises can help to stabilize bone density. I recommend all of my patients participate in a regular, progressive load bearing strength training program. If they have Osteopenia or Osteoporosis, it is non-negotiable, you must strengthen!
Another way to add positive “weight” is to exercise with a weighted vest. Many of my clients like to walk, hike, or jog and I recommend an adjustable weighted vest to create additional weight without the adverse effects of excessive body weight.
Benefits include: better balance, stronger legs/hips, and improved long-term bone density stabilization.
Weighted Vest Guidelines:
- Consult with your Physician to see if it is appropriate for you and your current state of health.
- Your goal is to have an additional 15% of your body weight, but you must start slowly. For example, if you weigh 140 lbs, your goal weight is about 20 lbs (~15%). You would then purchase a 20 lbs adjustable weighted vest and start at 4-6 lbs and let your body adjust to the new weight.
- Do not add additional weight until your body adjusts to the weight
- Be sure to have a proper fitting vest as you want it to fit snuggly and make sure you have the weight equally distributed front to back.
- If you are not a runner, try to “power walk” as bone density is related to impact.
- You can also wear your vest during daily activities around the house.
Do your homework and research different brands but many of my patients have purchased the “Mir Women’s Adjustable weight vest” and have been very happy with the purchase.
Please let me know if you have any questions,
Ed Deboo, PT
Bellingham Physical Therapy