In this blog, I identify kyphosis exercises to avoid and why a kyphotic posture could lead to health problems.
Kyphosis Exercises to Avoid
If you have osteoporosis, osteopenia or low bone density, you need to avoid exercises and movements that put you in flexion as these movements increase your chance of vertebral compression fractures.
The kyphosis exercises to avoid are:
- Chest Fly
- Chest Press
- Knee Extensions
- Lat Pull Downs (Behind the Head)
- Seated Rows
- Toe Touch with a Twist
- Hamstring Stretches
- Back Stretches
- Cardiovascular Exercises That Put You in a Slouched Position
- Yoga Poses That Put You in a Slouched Position
I describe each of these kyphosis exercises to avoid in my book, Exercise for Better Bones. I have written a detailed blog article on Osteoporosis Exercise Contraindications (commonly known as kyphosis exercises to avoid or osteoporosis exercises to avoid).
In Exercise for Better Bones, I show you how to modify many of your activities of daily living and make them safer for your bones. I also describe a wide range of Posture building exercises. These are ideal for someone who wants exercises for kyphosis. Some of the exercises include:
- Chin Tuck Stretch
- Shoulder Tuck Stretch
- Chest Stretch on the Floor
- Arm Reach Stretch
In total, I have identified fifteen exercises for kyphosis in Exercise for Better Bones.
To understand why kyphosis exercises need to be avoided and why other exercises are necessary to build bone, it is good to have a good understanding of the different types of bone in your body.
How to Have a Perfect Posture
Posture is the foundation of all movement and exercise. This is why I developed the online course, Perfect Posture in 30 Days.
A perfect posture has many benefits.
- Reduces your risk of back, neck and shoulder pain.
- Improves balance and the reduces the chance of a fall.
- Promotes a positive self-image.
Posture and Osteoporosis
Good postural alignment is especially important for individuals with osteoporosis and low bone density.
Simple movements you do everyday can lead to small fractures to the spine.
For example, poor postural alignment when you cough, sneeze, or reach for something can cause micro trauma to the spinal column. Over time, these micro traumas can add up and eventually lead to vertebral compression fractures.
A poor posture contributes to balance issues. As a result, individuals with osteoporosis and low bone density are at risk of a macro trauma to the spine because of balance problems.
The Source of Poor Posture
Why don’t more of us have a perfect posture? Because many of the activities we do in today’s modern world involve forward flexion.
Activities such as reading in bed, using a mobile phone, gaming, texting, sitting for hours hunched over a laptop computer, knitting, crocheting, and many more encourage forward flexion.
Many people take this forward movement into their exercise and leisure activities. Unfortunately, this reinforces poor postural alignment.
Unless we make adjustments to our environment or correct our posture, over time we weaken and stretch certain muscles and tighten other muscles. This muscular imbalance leads to poor postural alignment.
We need to fix this imbalance, modify our movements so that we can get the posture we want.
How to Achieve a Perfect Posture
Many of us do not know how to get and keep a perfect posture. To have a good posture we need to learn the fundamentals of good posture, know what exercises promote postural alignment, and how to bring good posture into our day to day activities.
This is why I created Perfect Posture in 30 Days. This course addresses each of these areas and shows you how to develop a perfect posture, how to modify your daily activities, and how to make your perfect posture a permanent part of your life.
Perfect Posture in 30 Days will improve your posture, boost your confidence, and allow you to live a pain free life.
How to Prevent Kyphotic Posture and Kyphosis
Unsafe movements can lead to fractures of your vertebrae if you have low bone density or osteoporosis. These are frequently referred to as kyphosis exercises to avoid and they can lead to compression fractures.
Bone mass changes during your lifetime. You can expect your bone mass to peak and then decline. Regular and appropriate exercise can “level off” this decline and could actually increase your bone mass over time. To learn more about how to do this read my blog post on How to Reverse Osteoporosis.
However, there are other exercise and movement strategies you should consider to avoid the onset and development of a kyphotic posture.
1. Peak Bone Mass
Many of you have most likely read or heard that you reach peak bone mass somewhere in between the ages of 25 and 30 years of age. Then, all things being equal, as you continue to age women tend to lose bone at a faster rate than men do because of the loss of estrogen that occurs with menopause. When you start to incorporate regular, healthy vigorous exercise you can start levelling off and sometimes even increasing your bone mass.
2. Kyphosis Exercises and Movements To Avoid
Certain movements, especially movements of flexion have been shown in studies to greatly increase your risk of vertebral fractures. The movements that bring you into flexion include sit-ups, toe-touches, and crunches.
In my book Exercise for Better Bones, I have a whole section committed to safe movements that you can incorporate into your activities of daily living as well as your exercise routine. I also identify specific movements you should avoid.
In my book Yoga for Better Bones, I identify (for both yoga practitioners and instructors) the yoga poses that require modification and those that should be avoided for people with osteoporosis.
3. Bone Types and Compression Fracture
We have two types of bone: trabecular and cortical. The trabecular bone is the weaker of the two. Unfortunately, the inside of the vertebral body of the spine is largely composed of trabecular body and, as a result, is most at risk of fracture.
Once you have one fracture, your risk of another fracture increases. The key for you is to reduce your risk of that first fracture. I recommend that you perform extension exercises to counter the risk of a fracture and avoid exercise and movements that cause flexion. I cover these exercises in detail in Exercise for Better Bones.
Your mid-back is a location that much more vulnerable than other bones in your body when you’re imposing unsafe forces to it.
Once you have one compression fracture, the forces in your spine — above and below the fracture site — actually start to change. This change leads to a much higher risk for a second, third and fourth compression fracture. The key is to prevent your first compression fracture.
If you’re reading to this and you’ve already had a vertebral fracture or compression fracture, all hope is not lost. Studies show that by doing safe and effective extension exercises — where you’re building the muscles of your spine — will greatly reduce the rate of second and third fracture.
When Should You Start Exercise After a Compression Fracture?
Another important consideration if you have have had a compression fracture is when to start exercising after the compression fracture. I cannot go into this in detail in the blog post because every patient’s medical situation is unique. But bear in mind that the timing of your recovery exercise is important. You do not want to start too early since healing time is an absolute requirement.
I work carefully with both my patient and their physician to determine when they can start exercise again and what specific exercises are best suited to the patient’s situation. My advice to anyone with a compression fracture is make sure you work with and experienced and skilled Physical Therapist.
4. Activities of Daily Living
I mentioned earlier, unsafe exercises can cause fractures of the spine. But it’s not just exercises that we need to be concerned about, it’s all of the activities that you do day in and day out.
How you lift up your grandchild, how you feed your dog, how you pick up your groceries — all of those movements can cause microtrauma to your spine, or not. Learning to move with safe body mechanics is an important part of the Exercise for Better Bones program and these are covered in the Activities of Daily Living section of the book.
We provide hundreds of examples from working in your kitchen, making your bed, picking up your grandchildren, feeding the dog … that gives you tips and ideas to start incorporating into your day to day life.
In tomorrow’s tutorial, we’re going to look at the key principles that are needed when you’re looking at a bone building exercise program. Look forward to seeing you then.
Posture Alignment Therapy
Are you interested in your own Physiotherapy Posture Correction Program to address your kyphosis? You can work with me on a one-on-one basis and receive your own Posture Alignment Therapy.
Kyphosis Exercises to Avoid Conclusion
In this discussion we covered a number of topics related to kyphosis exercises to avoid. Hopefully you feel more knowledgeable about the topic. You learned about the kyphosis posture and how to avoid it, and we listed kyphosis exercises to avoid and in a related blog post covered osteoporosis exercise contraindications.
Tomorrow’s Lesson • Exercise Principles
Tomorrow’s lesson will cover the four key exercise principles of an osteoporosis exercise program. Stay tuned!