Upper body exercises

In follow up to our previous post from yesterday, certified exercise specialist Dr. Marta Erlandson begins our series of exercise videos by demonstrating upper body exercises that are good for developing bone and muscle strength.

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3 thoughts on “Upper body exercises

  1. Precautions for Osteoporosis Exercise says specifically not to hold a weight up and away from the body, but the Upper Body Exercise video shows exactly that exercise as the 4th exercise. Please can you clarify this.

    • Thank you for your question, Afroze.

      My recommendation to you is that if you already have osteoporosis, we would recommend avoiding the 4th video exercise that you mention. You can do the 3rd video exercise, where you are raising your arms up and sideways (instead of in front of you), and it will also work out your shoulder muscles and bones. An issue with the 4th video exercise is that it is easy to move your arms up past your shoulders and once you go past your shoulders the pressure in the upper spine can be too much for fragile spine bones (vertebrae).

      If you have low bone mass but you don’t yet have osteoporosis, you could opt do the 4th video exercise, but preferably with lower weights and never move your arms past your shoulders, so as to avoid compression of the spine. The advantage of doing the 4th video exercise is that it works out your front shoulder muscles a bit more than the 3rd exercise video, and the front shoulder muscles help to keep arms up in front of you (for example, people who need to hold on to walkers, may be able to hold on to it harder and for longer if their front shoulder muscles are stronger).

      The “Precautions” are mainly focusing on lifting loads during daily activities. For example, if you are picking up a heavy bag of flour and trying to put it up on a shelf that you need to reach by raising your arms up and past your shoulders, and you have osteoporosis, you are putting your self at a risk of fracturing your spine. So always try to avoid lifting something up past your shoulders during daily activities. Instead, try to hold the flour bag close to your chest and step up on something, so you don’t have to raise your arms up. Or ask someone to do it instead, if you are worried about losing a balance when stepping up on something. Or avoid storing heavy things on high shelves so you don’t have to lift heavy loads in front of you and past your shoulders.

      Hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

      Best regards, Dr Luba Slatkovska
      Scientific Associate
      Osteoporosis Program
      University Health Network

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