OsteoBall™ for Better Bone Health and Managing Osteoporosis

Hug it, Tug it, Your Bones Get Stronger.  This clinically tested product can help build both muscles and bones!  

Calcium supplements are important for bone health but did you know you can also strengthen your bones with as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day using an inflatable ball similar to a beach ball—but with handles to help you “tug”?  The OsteoBall™ is just the right product for aging joints that may not be comfortable doing traditional strength training exercise.  Bone loss is site specific, which means that we lose bone mass most  rapidly in those areas of the body that are most inactive and/or immobile.  Bone stimulation is also site specific, which means that you have to contract muscles around all of the various bones and joints in your body to help protect your bones and keep you bone density up.   

This is why resistance training including isometric exercise has become a very popular recommendation for bone health. A well designed strength routine should address all of the major muscles and related joints of the body.  The problem is that some of our elderly and frail population may be afraid or unable to perform dynamic strength exercise due to losses in balance, coordination, core control and/or joint pain and discomfort.  This was the challenge that Doctor Robert Swezey of the Arthritis & Back Pain Center and Osteoporosis Prevention & Treatment Center of the Swezey Institute ran into time and time again with his patients. Doctor Swezey, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.R., F.A.A.P.M.R., is an internationally recognized leader in research and teaching in rheumatological rehabilitation.  He is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA and is a Board Certified specialist in 3 specialty areas: Rheumatology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Internal Medicine and Osteoporosis. It was over a decade ago that he developed the OsteoBall™ to use in his clinical practice. 

The OstoBall program is based on performing a series of isometric contractions utilizing the OstoeBall™ product, which allows for by pushing and pulling exercises that often reach parts of the body that are difficult to exercise. An example of an isometric exercise is to simply press one hand as hard as you can against an immovable object, such as the wall.  By increasing and holding the tension for several seconds you can recruit muscle fibers to build strength and endurance with minimal stress to the related joints.  This is why isometric has long been used as a way to rehab joints after injury and trauma. Clinical Research done at the Swezey Institute on the OsteoBall program showed new bone mineral stimulation and improvements in muscular strength in post menopausal women after eight weeks of simple and easy to perform exercises done for 5 to 10 minutes a day.(http://www.bonefitness.com/consumer/education/research/clinical_studies/op_study.html).  

Here are some key techniques to use when performing a OsteoBall™ isometric style exercise (some of which can be done using any compressible ball):

 

  1. If sitting or standing always start by aligning yourself in good posture (head over shoulders, chin level with the floor,  sternum lifted, abdominals pulled in).
  2. Inhale as you initiate the pressing or pulling action.
  3. Slowly press (or pull) against the ball, gradually building up a level of tension that you would describe as somewhat hard, hard, or very hard (a 6 to 8 on a 10 point effort scale).
  4. Count out loud as you push or pull to insure proper breathing thought the contraction. Say “push 1, push 2, push 3. push 4, push 5” to help you exhale properly.
  5. Make sure you maintain proper posture and alignment throughout the contraction.
  6. After completing the held contraction, rest and relax the muscles your were contracting for 30 seconds to a minute and reposition the ball for another exercise (or perform a second repetition of the same exercise).
  7. Try to do at least one exercise for each major muscle group and related joint area (neck, shoulders, elbow, wrists, spine, hips, knees, ankles). 
  8. When you are done with a muscle group feel free to stretch the area contracted.

 

10 exercises, 10 minutes, 10 great reasons to recommend this workout for those with bone or joint limitations:  Easy to do isometric exercises allow you to create the right amount of tension without any weights or bands to worry about dropping or breaking.  

  • The 10 exercises are clearly printed on the inflatable ball, insuring you hit each major muscle group and related joint area.
  • Handle straps on the ball allow for easy positioning of the ball for various exercises as well as pulling contractions.
  • The soft surface of the ball allows for a gentle progression into the compression contractions.
  • The 10 base exercises can be done from a standing, seated and even a bed rest position (for those who are less or non ambulatory).
  • Each exercise only takes 5 second to complete.
  • Isometric exercises allow you to strengthen muscles without moving joints that may be painful or have limited range of motion
  • The resistance progression is build in, because as you get stronger you simply push or pull harder.
  • Stronger muscles lead to better life function and less risk for falls.
  • Stronger bones and muscles help reduce the chance of breaks and joint degeneration

For more information on the OsteoBall™ product or the Swezey Institute visit www.bonefitness.com

Remember that along with strengthening exercises, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is also very important for maintaining strong bones.  A Calcium supplement such as a liquid calcium with vitamin D3  is the perfect way to get the right amount each day and its easy to swallow.