Tips for Making Your Loved One’s Workouts Easier
Make no bones about it: Exercise is an important part of an osteoporosis treatment plan. Yet many people who suffer from the disease skip their workouts for fear of injury, lack of motivation or because they simply don’t know where to begin. John Martinez, DPT, president of Therapy Experts in New York City offers six suggestions for helping someone you love build her bones—and maybe even strengthen your relationship as well.
- Get MD support. Knowing that a physician has signed off on her routine can provide a real confidence boost, so make sure her doctor is not only in the loop but actively involved in designing a workout that’s both safe and effective. A medical pro will ensure she’s doing a well-rounded workout that includes 3-5 days a week of cardio where her feet bear her weight, strength training with weights or exercise bands and moves that improve balance.
- Use a pro. Consider hiring a physical therapist to show her the ropes; their special training makes them uniquely qualified to ensure she has a handle on good technique. If your loved one has insurance and a doctor’s prescription, she’s likely entitled to several sessions at little or no cost.
- Set some goals. Besides bolstering fragile bones, it helps to have other good reasons for getting a move on. Whether the goal is to participate in a walk-a-thon or complete a hike with the grandkids, make sure her goals are inspiring, clearly stated and challenging yet realistic. Take some baseline measurements at the start so she’s able to look back to see how far she’s come.
- Have some fun. Who says exercise has to be a chore? Spur her on by popping in a favorite DVD to make a treadmill workout fly by. Or crank up the tunes to keep a beat while she lifts light weights. Even better: Instead of supervising her sessions from the sidelines, join in to keep her company.
- Mix it up. She doesn’t have to do the same routine day in, day out to get the job done. Doing a variety of workouts will probably be more effective and a lot less boring, so encourage her to spice it up by trying exercise DVDs, group classes and other new activities.
- Fine-tune it. No one looks forward to a workout that’s uncomfortable or downright painful. Be sure to ask if she feels any pain while exercising, and if she does, work with her healthcare team to make the necessary adjustments.