Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that affects various people around the globe. The condition can be managed and treated effectively, however it is not curable. One method people are using to manage osteoporosis is wearing a weighted vest. In this blog post, we’re answering the question ‘are weighted vests good for osteoporosis?’. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of weighted vest for osteoporosis, as well as the safety precautions to follow. But first, let’s take a deeper look into osteoporosis and what it is.
What Is Osteoporosis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, osteoporosis is a condition that “causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a break. Osteoporosis-related breaks most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.” Their website further states “bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn't keep up with the loss of old bone.”
From this description, it is clear that people with osteoporosis can break bones much easier than other people. Now, let’s dive right into the pros and cons of weighted vests for osteoporosis.
Benefits Of Weighted Vests For Osteoporosis
Some scientific research backs up the claim that weighted vests can be beneficial for people with osteoporosis. Specific benefits of wearing a weighted vest for osteoporosis include:
Can improve bone health
Wearing a weighted vest can help to improve bone density, thus strengthening bones. According to Wolff’s Law, bones respond to mechanical stress by ‘remodelling’ and adapting, which makes them stronger over time. Similarly, bones that do not experience mechanical stress may become weaker and more frail over time, which can cause fractures. Therefore, wearing a weighted vest can be said to cause stress to bones, triggering them to remodel due to this stress. Essentially, bones have to work harder to support the body, which improves bone density and makes them stronger.
Improve muscle strength
When wearing a weighted vest, the added weight causes resistance meaning muscles have to work harder to support the body as they usually would. Therefore, as muscles are working harder, they begin to adapt and become stronger over time. Improved muscle strength helps people with osteoporosis by supporting weak bones, improving physical strength and supporting the body as a whole.
Improve balance and posture
Wearing a weighted vest causes people to become more aware of where the heaviest load is placed on their bodies. Subconsciously, people may then begin to adjust their posture according to where they feel this load. This can help improve natural posture and balance in the long term. Additionally, wearing a weighted vest means that weight is distributed across the body. Provided this added weight is distributed equally, it can help improve balance and posture.
Drawbacks Of Weighted Vests For Osteoporosis
Along with the above benefits, there are some drawbacks of wearing a weighted vest for osteoporosis, including:
Can worsen severe osteoporosis
If you are suffering from severe osteoporosis, wearing a weighted vest may not be the best fit for you at this time. These vests add extra stress to joints and other areas, which can cause more pain and could contribute to a potential fracture. Therefore, if you have severe osteoporosis, it is best to stay away from weighted vests and look for other methods to manage the condition that are less intense on your joints.
May increase fall risks
The heavy load of a weighted vest can increase the likelihood of an individual falling. This is why it is essential to begin with a very light weight and to gradually build up the load, which should only be done if your doctor has approved this transition and if you feel comfortable.
Are not suitable for everyone
Every person with osteoporosis is different. Each person with the condition will have individual requirements, and wearing a weighted vest may not be suitable for you. While these vests can benefit many people with the condition, unfortunately, they may cause more harm than good for others. This is why it is important to consult your doctor if you are considering a weighted vest for osteoporosis. Your doctor will be able to advise you of the suitability of a weighted vest, and if they advise against it, they should be able to provide more appropriate recommendations for you to manage the condition.
Now that we’ve discussed the advantages and disadvantages of weighted vests for osteoporosis, let’s look at the key safety precautions to consider.
Safety Precautions To Follow
If you are considering wearing a weighted vest for osteoporosis, you should take extra care by following safety precautions, which will lower the risk of injury. Some safety precautions to follow include:
- Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before wearing a weighted vest
- Gradually build up the amount of weight you add
- Vests are not suitable for people with severe osteoporosis
- Ensure your vest is a good fit
- Use a weighted vest in conjunction with other treatments
- Do not do vigorous exercise while wearing a weighted vest - you should not push yourself too much, as doing so could cause lasting damage
You should not rely on the use of a weighted vest alone to treat osteoporosis. Instead, it should be part of your overall treatment plan.
So, are weighted vests good for osteoporosis?
You should now have a better understanding of weighted vests and an answer to the question ‘are weighted vests good for osteoporosis?’. To recap, weighted vests can be useful for people with osteoporosis, however they should be used in conjunction with other treatment measures. You must consult your doctor or healthcare provider before wearing a weighted vest and you should immediately remove the vest if it feels painful or causes pain in your joints.
If you are interested in seeing our weighted vests, you can browse our complete range of weighted vests here. Alternatively, get in touch to speak to a member of our friendly team, who will be happy to help you with all of your exercise and work out requirements.