T Nation

Workout for older people

It turns out my mother has osteoporosis. She’s always been in great shape (actually a state champion swimmer in years past), but other responsibilities have gotten in the way of her health. Right now she has to take care of my grandmother who’s ill, and my sister who’s severly/profoundly retarded. I would like to design some sort of workout program for her, and I’m wondering if anyone has advise. She’s 51, probably 25% bodyfat, and weighs 140-145. She has bad knees and a bad elbow so exercise selection is limited. I was thinking of a three day a week full body program, maybe light deadlifts, bench press and cable rows every workout, then alternate some supplementary exercise every workout. None of the sets would be to failure, and the reps would be in the 5-8 range. Any comments?

I would up the reps to 8-12,at least in the beginning…I like squats (bodyweight)in addition to deadlifts as they put less shearing force on the knees than extensions oe curls…Make sure she is taking a good calcium supp.

Check with her MD. If the osteoporosis is severe any exercise which loads the spine e.g. squats may be too much.

Make sure the calcium supp has magnesium as it helps increase absorption.

Given her doc has OK’d exercise, be sure to use exercises which will moderately load the spine. Things like squats, shoulder presses, bench presses. The key is to promote bonme mineralization through placing a load a little higher than she’s used to (guage it by how advanced her condition is). Once she’s used to load bearing, then you can round out the program a little more. I’d stay away from deads though as Osteo affects the hips quite a bit and it could jeopardize joint integrity.

Check into ipriflavone supplementation as well as the calcium and magnesium. There’s a couple fairly new perscription drugs that can also help with bone density – don’t know much about them, but they might be worth checking into.