Background: Body composition changes occur with aging; bone and muscle mass decrease
while fat mass increases. The collective term for these changes is osteosarcopenic obesity. It is
known that conventional resistance exercise programs build/maintain lean mass and reduce fat mass.
However, unconventional (to Western society/medicine) forms of exercise may be viable for the
treatment/prevention of osteosarcopenic obesity.
Objective: The purpose of this review is to assess relatively unconventional exercises for their efficacy
in maintaining/improving bone and muscle mass and reducing fat mass.
Method: A literature search for unconventional exercise showed Tai Chi, yoga, Pilates, whole body
vibration, electrical stimulation of muscle, and the Alexander Technique were considered alternative/
unconventional. A PubMed and Medline search for human data using combinations and synonyms
of osteoporosis, sarcopenia and obesity, and each exercise was then conducted.
Results: Tai Chi, yoga, and Pilates, in addition to whole body vibration, electrical stimulation of
muscle, and the Alexander Technique are all considered low impact. Tai Chi, yoga, and Pilates not
only physically support the body, but also increase balance and quality of life. The devices showed
promise in reducing or preventing muscle atrophy in older people that are unable to perform conventional
Conclusion: Any exercise, conventional or otherwise, especially in sedentary older people, at risk of,
or diagnosed with osteosarcopenic obesity may be better than none. Exercise prescriptions should
suit the patient and the desired outcomes; the patient should not be forced to fit an exercise prescription,
so all potential forms of exercise should be considered.