Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Deep water running and osteopenia | HerCanberra

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Ask an Exercise Physiologist: Deep water running and osteopenia

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Great questions this week about the best exercise program for osteopenia, and deep water running with chronic illness.

Thank you to the HerCanberra community for being so engaging and asking the tough questions. Addressing your concerns is the first step in finding answers.

I’ll get to the other questions on morning routines in winter, mountain running, the benefits of exercising with depression, Hiit training and sciatic pain over the next month.

New here?

Ask an EP is here to help with all your health and wellness questions and challenges—lifestyle, wellness, pain and health.

Do you have a burning health and wellness question? Now is your chance to ask.

Each week we will pick a couple of questions, and help you solve your query. If we share our problems, we are more likely to solve them.

If exercising at home, what is the best routine for osteopenia?

– Jill, 55

Hello there Jill,

Hats off to you for doing your research about osteopenia—exercise is medicine, however, please do continue to consult your doctor before commencing any regular exercise routine.

It is essential that you consider any comorbidities to establish safe exercise prescription for you. Your doctor may also be able to recommend a suitable allied health professional.

You are on the right track, Jill. A supervised weight-bearing impact exercise program and progressive resistance (think—thera bands, dumbbells, etc) training alongside a walking program is the most appropriate forms of exercise, assuming no modifications need to be made for other medical conditions. Best of luck to you

Your bone density scores, will determine the intensity to exercise, and should be managed by your exercise professional. Here is a very generic program we have whipped up for you, which will help you at home:

1) Lunge around the clock
2) Squat to press—single arm with dumbbell
3) Step Up
4) Bridge holds with heel lift
5) Resisted Crab Walks

Download the program here.

Furthermore, if you’re interested in the science behind the answer, the current research ‘Beck BR, et al. Exercise and Sports Science Australia’ (ESSA) position statement on exercise prescription for the prevention and management of osteoporosis, J Sci Med Sport (2016), currently states:

“The optimisation of muscle strength, balance and mobility minimises risk of falls (and thus fractures) which is particularly important for individuals with osteoporosis’.

Evidence-based practice is best practice, Jill.

I loved running before I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.

My doctor has recommended Deep Water Running. Is it easy enough to deep water run?

– Bronte, 28

Ahhh -water adds magic to any runners’ (or injured runners’) training program. A lot of people look at Deep Water Running as being ‘too gentle’ or for ‘older populations’ when the truth is, it is for everyone. Good on your doctor for thinking outside the box, and looking at alternatives for your health and wellbeing.

Deep Water Running (DWR) can assist to regain lost strength, conditioning, mobility, balance and motor control. A study shows the human body responds to water immersion with changes in the heart, peripheral resistance, and blood flow, as well as alterations in skin, core and muscles temperature. If you’re interested, here’s the link to the study.

Here are a couple of tips to get started:

Get started with an allied health professional who has DWR experience to assess your movement patterns to establish potential areas of imbalance and/or weakness that can be improved. Mastering the correct DWR technique and posture is essential. To answer your question, yes it is easy to learn.

The DWR technique is a suspended movement, therefore may take a little longer to learn the exercise. Once you learn where your centre of gravity is, you will be able to maintain and control your upright correct running technique. Balance and stability are the key to get started.

Set your lifestyle goals (short and long term—Google the SMART principles) to adequately prescribe DWR within your weekly program. At Capital Hydrotherapy we recommend Deep Water Running sessions a minimum of twice per week to improve your neural adaptations, improve strength and optimise benefits. Depending on your goals, and time commitments. Good luck, Bronte.

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The information provided by Ask an Exercise Physiologist is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Her Canberra advises our community to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if they’re seeking more specific medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.

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