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Fitness Tip of the Day!
Physical Activity and Dementia
A 5-yr study of elderly subjects (mean age 75 yrs) showed that those who were most active during the day (doing chores, etc.) had the lowest rate of cognitive impairment (Arch Intern Med, 2011).

Exercises for Osteoporosis

Author: Daniels D
Category: Health/Fitness
Audience: Consumer
Length: 150 pages
Publisher: Healthy Living Books
  Year Published: 2005
List Price: $15.95® Rating: Worth A Look

Exercises For Osteoporosis is an exercise guide for consumers.

Recommended for:  older clients who want information on general fitness and conditioning.


Dianne Daniels, MA, holds a masters degree in exercise physiology from Columbia University.  She is a Feldenkrais® practitioner, a Pilates instructor, a Yoga teacher, and a personal trainer.  She has also worked with the New York City Department for the Aging and has taught courses for fitness professionals since 1992.


The 150-page book is organized as follows:
  • Chapter 1:  Does Exercise Really Build Bone?
  • Chapter 2:  A Future Epidemic
  • Chapter 3:  Are You At Risk?
  • Chapter 4:  Taking Added Precautions:  Medications and Supplements
  • Chapter 5:  The Most Common Fracture Sites
  • Chapter 6:  Why These Exercises Were Chosen
  • Chapter 7:  Exercise Precautions
  • Chapter 8:  How To Use This Book
  • Chapter 9:  Exercises
  • Chapter 10:  Skeletal Alignment
  • Chapter 11:  A Good Time To Start
  • Chapter 12:  Programs
  • Appendix A:  Resources
  • Appendix B:  Equipment
  • Appendix C:  References


This book was somewhat disappointing for me.  Because of the author's background, and the title of the book, I was expecting this to be the perfect resource on exercises for preventing complications of osteoporosis.  After all, that's the book's title, right?

While Exercises For Osteoporosis does contain useful information, along with lots of photos of elderly subjects performing specific exercises and stretches, it simply does not deliver what the title suggests.

What I Liked About This Book:  There are a lot of specific low-impact exercises and stretches described, along with at least 230 black and white photos of elderly subjects demonstrating them.  This content makes up the bulk of the book (pages 27-146).

The author also provides some good general information on osteoporosis and general pointers on exercising.

What Could Be Better:  In my opinion, there are 2 main flaws with this book.  Unfortunately, they are major:  (a)  the specific exercises that are illustrated seem to be more for general conditioning than for osteoporosis specifically, and (b) content is provided that should be excluded.

You can see the Yoga and Pilates influences in the exercises Daniels chooses to illustrate.  Certainly, many of these exercises are going to be very beneficial for elderly clients.  But, how can performing swimming strokes while in a standing position or doing Kegel exercises improve bone density?  Four pages are devoted to breathing exercises which seems more suited to meditation than to a book on osteoporosis.  Chapter 10 devotes 12 pages to aligning the spine.

Chapter 4 is Daniels' attempt to discuss medications and supplements used in the management of osteoporosis.  This is a glaring flaw in this book. Although Daniels has a graduate degree in exercise physiology, she is not a licensed health care professional (eg., physician, pharmacist, nurse).  Thus, it is inappropriate for her to review medical and pharmacotherapeutic treatments.  In chapter 1 (p. 2), she states:  "If exercise increases your bone by 2% and your medication increases it by 5%, then you will have a total net gain of 7% in new bone!"  This sort of overly simplistic deduction reveals her naivete in this arena.  In chapter 4, she identifies "studies", "research", or "data" in 7 places, but provides the source of those statements (ie., the citation) only once.  Even though Exercises For Osteoporosis is not intended to be a scientific book, because of the health/medical nature of the subject matter, when specific research findings are summarized, the author should cite the source for the reader.

Chapter 4 also reveals poor copy-editing:  There is mention of "vitamin B", which, of course, is confusing because there are several.  The discussion of statin drugs (eg., Lipitor®, Zocor®) is accidentally placed under the group heading "Nutritional Supplements."  Although it only constitutes 3 pages, this chapter should be deleted from future editions.

Conversely, other important osteoporosis concepts are either discussed too briefly, or not included at all:

• the use of a BOSU ball to improve balance
• the discussion of how and where a person can obtain a bone scanning test needs more detail
• the concept of "impact" exercises is not emphasized enough; exercises like jumping jacks and simple foot stomping need to be stressed (Daniels does mention "jumps" on p. 76, but suggests that the goal is 50...this is probably more than is necessary to affect bone density)
• a list of sports (eg., soccer, tennis) that are good for improving bone strength is needed
• the discussion of sports that are not helpful for osteoporosis needs improvement:  on p. 17, she mentions that swimming isn't a good choice; she should also list cycling, rollerblading, and other low-impact sports

A critical concept -- specific ages in a woman's life when exercise is most important  -- is overlooked.  Girls in their teenage years need impact exercise.  The right amount of exercise during these years produces stronger bones throughout the rest of life.  Another phase of life where exercise is important is the 5 years immediately following menopause.  The omission of these discussions is most disappointing.

Finally, there is this:

• on p. 3:  "Walking does not prevent osteoporosis, nor will it build bone, except in the beginning stages of going from couch potato to walker."
• on p. 123:  "...walking is a recommended therapy for those with, or at risk for, osteoporosis."

Obviously, readers who study this book carefully will be confused.


Unfortunately, Exercises For Osteoporosis doesn't deliver what the title suggests.  This book ends up being more of a general guide to low-impact exercise for elderly subjects.

Copyright ©2007, AthleteInMe, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 6/2/2014 11:39:06 AM

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