Table of Contents
Today, you will learn some of the most common kyphosis exercises to avoid and why a kyphotic posture could lead to health problems.
You will also learn about different types of bones in your body and your spine. You will better understand why our spines are vulnerable to compression fractures.
Lastly, you will learn five great starter exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting your spine and posture.
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.
Some of the many kyphosis exercises to avoid include:
- Crunches or sit-ups
- Pilates 100’s
- Lat pull-downs behind the head
- Toe touches
- Toe touches with a twist
- Spine roll-downs or roll-ups
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, you should have an understanding of the different types of bone in your body.
Bone Types and Compression Fracture
We have two types of bones: trabecular and cortical. The vertebral bodies of our spine are composed of a higher ratio of trabecular bone than most other bones, which makes them more vulnerable to compression fractures.
Once you have one compression fracture, your risk of another fracture increases. Thus, reducing the risk of the first fracture is essential.
Whether you wish to avoid your first compression fracture or future compression fractures, two key ingredients are needed:
- Avoid movements that bring you into flexion.
- Progressively strengthen your spinal muscles.
Peak Bone Mass
Many of you know you reach peak bone mass between 25 and 30. As we age, women will lose bone at a faster rate than men. The cause of bone loss due to menopause is called primary osteoporosis. Depending on your genetics, nutrition, and exercise, your rate of bone loss during this period can vary.
How to Prevent Kyphotic Posture and Kyphosis
As mentioned above, if you have low bone density or osteoporosis, unsafe exercises can lead to compression fractures.
However, it is essential to realize that daily activities with poor body mechanics can put our spine at an even greater risk. Our daily activities occur hundreds of times more frequently than formal exercises. When you improve your body mechanics, you automatically start improving your posture and protecting your spine.
The video below shows how to lift and carry babies and young children.
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.
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.
A perfect posture has many benefits. Here are just a few:
- Reduces your risk of back, neck, and shoulder pain.
- Improves balance and 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.
Poor posture contributes to poor balance. Good posture plays an important part in balance and is one component that helps reduce your risk of a fall.
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.
There are ways to correct the imbalance so that we have our best posture.
Join me as we use Physical Therapy postural strengthening exercises on your back and tummy to improve your posture and help you hold your body tall against gravity.
These postural strengthening exercises requires a regular belt, a pillow and two hand towels.
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!