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I have osteoporosis. What stretches are good for me?

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The question

I have osteoporosis. Is a sitting-down stretch, where I sit with legs in a V shape and reach forward toward my feet, suitable for me?



The answer

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It depends on how you are performing the stretch. Anyone with osteoporosis should not bend their spine as they reach forward. Instead, hinge at your hips and keep your back straight as you lean forward.



I would also suggest trying the stretch while sitting on a chair or a bolster. For most of us, our hips are so tight that it is a challenge to keep our back straight as we hinge forward, even when we consciously make the effort.

My advice may seem overly cautious, but it is important to learn proper movements that are safe for people with osteoporosis as early as possible. Even if you currently have only been diagnosed with osteopenia (lower than normal bone density that may lead to osteoporosis), or if you have been told by your doctor that your osteoporosis is mild, it is important to teach your brain safe movement patterns. With practice, hinging at the hips will become the "natural" way you move.

Trainer's Tip

If you are having trouble visualizing what it looks like to hinge at your hips, think about bending like a Barbie. Unless you break it into two pieces, the doll is designed to only hinge at her hips.



Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your fitness questions at trainer@globeandmail.com.

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