Charity stresses power of exercise for osteoporosis sufferers

A charity has launched a campaign to urge people with osteoporosis not to fear taking exercise.

The Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) says those with the condition can often be scared about breaking bones when they exercise and end up cutting back on physical activity.

The organisation has now developed online videos and guides to help those with osteoporosis learn about the importance of activity in promoting bone strength, reducing the risk of falls and managing symptoms.

Working with a range of experts, it has produced a new “consensus statement” for healthcare and exercise professional, stressing that people with osteoporosis should be encouraged to do more activity, rather than less, and that exercise is not associated with significant harm.

While “some caution is advised, the benefits of physical activity and exercise outweigh the risks”, the statement says.

The campaign involved several experts from Scotland.

Dawn Skelton, professor of ageing and health at Glasgow Caledonian University and chair of the ROS steering group that worked on the project, said: “I’ve got countless heart-breaking stories of watching people’s lives simply collapse when they get an osteoporosis diagnosis.

“They stay indoors worrying about their fragile bones, when they are perfectly capable of doing things to keep their bones strong which could add so much life to their remaining years.

“They hear ‘you can’t do this’ or ‘you shouldn’t do that’, or sometimes they’re so worried they’re not listening at all. And they end up being sedentary, losing more bone density in addition to the bone density you naturally lose as you get older.

“The work done to produce this consensus statement for healthcare or exercise professionals means we now have consistent expert advice, meaning an end to confusing or incorrect advice.

“And for people with osteoporosis, especially those who are fearful or don’t know where to start, there are now online resources available which are vital to motivate people to start, or get them to progress and try something new with their exercises and activities.”

Osteoporosis sufferer Gill, from the Highlands, was diagnosed with the condition when she was 62.

She said: “I don’t think people really realise the pain associated with breaking bones due to osteoporosis but I’m determined not to let it stop me from exercising.

“Bone health is of course something everyone should think about and I make sure I tell my granddaughter that it is very important to keep exercising to keep her bones healthy.”