Osteoporosis Exercises to Improve Your Bone Health

Remember to consult your doctor before beginning this or any other workout routine.
Osteoporosis Exercises to Improve Your Bone Health

Last update: 05 September, 2020

Usually, osteoporosis affects people who are over the age of 50, particularly post-menopausal women. As a result of this condition, they may suffer from hip, wrist or vertebral fractures following a stroke, a fall or a strain. Luckily, there are great exercises for both preventing and treating osteoporosis. The risk of broken bones diminishes with them.

What You Need to Know About Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones. It makes them more fragile and vulnerable to fractures and breaks. It’s the most common type of bone disease today. It occurs when your body loses its ability to produce new bone tissue.

Osteoporosis is often genetic. In other words, it can be passed from parent to child. Other causes include not consuming the recommended amount of calcium per day, and menopause is another particularly strong risk factor.

Calcium and vitamin D are nutrients that your body needs in order to produce new bone tissue. If you don’t consume sufficient amounts of these, your bones begin to lose density, thus becoming more fragile and prone to fractures and breaks.

Osteoporosis doesn’t only appear in post-menopausal women. It can also occur in men who are over the age of 50, which is when the body stops producing as much testosterone (the male hormone) as it did.

Other risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • Being bed-ridden
  • Suffering from certain other diseases
  • Taking certain medications
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis
  • Being underweight
  • Eating a poor diet
  • Smoking
  • Missing menstrual periods (amenorrhea)

In the early stages of osteoporosis, there may not be any symptoms, so sufferers don’t realize that they have this disease. It’s often only diagnosed when they fall and break a bone. Osteoporosis can also cause pain that’s unexplained, stooped posture (known as kyphosis) or a loss of height.

Besides keeping a balanced and healthy diet, you should avoid certain activities in order to prevent osteoporosis from developing or at least from becoming a very serious problem.

hip bones

Exercises for Osteoporosis

The metabolism of your bone tissue can certainly be raised with a program of osteoporosis exercises that includes strength training and low impact on the joints. It’s important to emphasize that this should involve both your upper and lower body.

Aerobic exercises such as walking, biking, swimming, dancing or jogging (depending on your individual preferences and abilities) are also good for preventing and treating osteoporosis. In addition to strengthening your bones, these help you maintain a healthy heart.

What You Should Know Before Starting

Before starting this routine of osteoporosis exercises, keep the following recommendations in mind:

  • Never completely bend your back because you could damage your spinal column or even fracture it if your osteoporosis is very advanced.
  • Avoid holding your breath for long periods of time. Instead, practice slow, steady breathing.
  • Do three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise, resting for 30 seconds between each set.
  • Try to do these exercises three to five times a week.
  • Don’t forget to warm up before you exercise and stretch afterwards.

A Routine of Exercises to Treat and Prevent Osteoporosis

Exercise #1

Osteoporosis exercises include walking briskly.

Walk at a brisk pace for15 minutes without stopping, preferably in a park, where you aren’t distracted by shops or interrupted by traffic lights.

Exercise #2

Lean back in your chair with your feet on the floor, and keeping your back straight, bend one knee. Raise and lower the bent leg as many times as you can.

Exercise #3

Stand against a wall with your hands pressed against it. Lean your body forward until you’re diagonal to the ground, but don’t lift your feet or heels. Bend your elbows, and support your chest on your hands. Hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.

Exercise #4

Lean against the wall again, facing out. Spread your legs to shoulder width, and bend your knees. While keeping your back straight, raise and lower your body slowly.

Exercise #5

Go up and down a flight of stairs. Another option is to use a small exercise step. In this case, step up with your right foot, step back down and repeat with your left one.

Exercise #6

Sitting in a chair, put your hands behind your head at the nape of your neck. While inhaling and opening your lungs, push your elbows back as far as you can.

Exercise #7

Also while sitting, rest your hands on your hips, and breathe in deeply at the same time that you push backwards with your elbows and shoulders.

Exercise #8

Lie on a mat on the floor, and stretch your right arm over your head to press your palm against the ground for a few seconds. Return that arm to your side, and repeat this exercise with your left arm.

Exercise #9

Standing next to a wall, rest your shoulder against it. Push against the wall with your nearest hand. Step forward with the leg that’s closest to the wall and bend that knee. Hold this position for a few minutes before returning to the starting position, and repeat with the opposite leg.

Exercise #10

hip raises

Lie on your back with your arms out at your side. Bend your legs, and support your weight with your feet. Slowly lift your pelvis skyward. Hold that position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.

Incorporating these osteoporosis exercises into your daily routine will not only strengthen your bones but also increase your flexibility. Start doing them today so that you can reduce the risk of fractures.

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  • Moreira, L. D. F., Oliveira, M. L. De, Lirani-Galvão, A. P., Marin-Mio, R. V., Santos, R. N. Dos, & Lazaretti-Castro, M. (2014). Physical exercise and osteoporosis: effects of different types of exercises on bone and physical function of postmenopausal women. Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia. https://doi.org/10.1590/0004-2730000003374
  • Bergland, A., Thorsen, H., & Kåresen, R. (2011). Effect of exercise on mobility, balance, and health-related quality of life In osteoporotic women with a history of vertebral fracture: A randomized, controlled trial. In Osteoporosis International. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-010-1435-7