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Modified crunches for people with Osteoporosis

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abdominal crunches for osteoporosisHere are some modifed crunch exercises for people with osteoporosis.

Keep knees bent and sit on a partially deflated exercise ball for added support. Slowly roll yourself so that the ball is placed in the mid to low back region, with hands supporting the head and neck. (Only use your hands as a cushion; don't pull on your neck. Easiest way to do this is the keep your elbows wide). This exercise will strengthen the abdominal muscles in a safe way because the position of the spine is only moving from a very slight bit of extension to a "neutral spine."

Research has proven that flexing or bending through the spine is not beneficial for someone with osteoporosis, thus most of these exercises should be performed with a neutral spine. As you will see, Cathy, our participant in the video below, leans back into the ball going into a very small amount of lumbar extension and slowly returns to the neutral position. Notice her head and neck are not moving because her hands are there for support. Her eyes are looking up toward the ceiling to make sure her neck is not being pulled forward.

The breathing technique for this exercise is important. Notice that Cathy is exhaling as she "crunches" forward and inhaling as she leans back into the ball. This will also help keep her stomach muscles contracted. Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions, with a short break in between sets.

Now Cathy will perform the same exercise standing with the inflated exercise ball behind her. Keeping her stomach muscles in tight, Cathy leans back into the ball, squeezing her shoulder blades together. Again, she is going to breathe in as she leans back, and breathe out as she returns to neutral. Squeezing the shoulder blades strengthens the muscles that hold us in a proper posture. 2 sets of 10 repetitions are ideal for this posture exercise.

If you are interested in purachsing the full osteoporosis DVD contact the Physical Therapy Center.

Contributed by Krista Magnoli, PTA @ The Physical Therapy Center in West Palm Beach, FLorida.  

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