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Steps for strong bones:

4. exercise

Exercise for osteoporosis

Vital at every age for healthy bones, exercise is important for treating and preventing osteoporosis.  Exercise also increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance, which not only leads to better overall health, but can, in turn, help prevent falls and related fractures. 3 types of exercise can help prevent fractures:







General considerations about exercise:

If you have health problems, such as heart trouble, high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity, or if you are age 40 or older, check with your provider before you begin a regular exercise program. If your risk of falls is high, a formal physical therapy regimen may be better suited for you to start with. Stop exercising if you have any chest pain or discomfort, and see your doctor before your next exercise session. If you have osteoporosis, ask your doctor which activities are safe for you.  If you have osteoporosis or low bone mass, experts recommend that you protect your spine by avoiding exercises or activities that flex, bend, or twist it.  Furthermore, you should avoid high-impact exercise to lower the risk of breaking a bone.  If you have a recent fracture, you will need guidance on appropriate exercise.  Your bone health team is here for you so don’t be afraid to ask questions!


According to the Surgeon General, the optimal goal is at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days, preferable daily. Listen to your body.  When starting an exercise routine, you may have some muscle soreness and discomfort at the beginning, but this should not be painful or last more than 48 hours.  If it does, you may be working too hard and need to ease up. 

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Weight Bearing
Strength Training
Balance & Flexibility

Weight Bearing Exercise

Weight bearing exercise is important for maintaining bone density. Weight bearing exercise is activity that involves staying upright working against gravity (or greater force).


Weight bearing can be low impact or high impact. High impact activity has a greater ability to increase bone density than low impact activity. However, if you have a high risk of fracture, have had osteoporotic fractures, arthritis or joint problems, high impact activity may need to be avoided.

Examples of high impact activity:
  • Dancing

  • Doing high-impact aerobics

  • Hiking

  • Jogging/running

  • Jumping Rope

  • Stair climbing

  • Tennis

Examples of Low impact activity:
  • Using elliptical training machines

  • Doing low-impact aerobics

  • Using stair-step machines

  • Fast walking on a treadmill or outside

Strength Training

Strength training is activity to help increase muscle strength. Most types of strength training are a form of weight bearing activity, as it increases the force through bones and stimulate bone building. In addition to the weight bearing effect on bone, strength training also help preserve or improve muscle strength. People typically start progressively losing muscle mass in their late 60s. As this happens, strength and muscle coordination decrease and as a result of this, people start having difficulties with daily activities, and fall risk increases. Strength training can help combat this by keeping your muscles strong. This will enable people to continue with desired activities and reduce the risk of falls.

Examples of Strength training
  • Lifting weights

  • Using elastic exercise bands

  • Using weight machines

  • Lifting your own body weight (squats, pushups, etc)

  • Functional movements, such as standing and rising up on your toes

Balance and flexibility

You can also significantly reduce your risk of falling by engaging in activities that enhance your balance, flexibility, and strength. Having good flexibility and balance can also ensure that you can continue to have the range of motion and balance to do desired activity.

  • Balance is the ability to maintain your body’s stability while moving or standing still.  You can improve your balance with activities such as tai chi and yoga, and Pilates.

  • Flexibility refers to the range of motion of a muscle or group of muscles.  You can improve your flexibility through tai chi, pilates, yoga, and gentle stretching exercises.

  • Strength refers to your body’s ability to develop and maintain strong muscles.  Lifting weights can increase your strength.

  • There are some poses in yoga that should be avoided if you have severe osteoporosis or have a history of spine fraactures. These movements include those that involve excessive bending or twisting in your spine.


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