Exercise and Osteoporosis -- Workouts to Strengthen Bones

Physical activity is essential for bone growth and muscle strength. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends weight-bearing exercises for people with osteoporosis because resistance training can be especially effective for preventing deterioration of the bones and can actually increase bone density. A combination of light aerobic exercise and weight-bearing exercises can improve your health and well-being, and also rebuild bone mass and strength.

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, talk to your doctor about an exercise regimen that will work for you. Your doctor can test your joints for strength and recommend a workout regimen that will keep your bones and joints healthy and strong.

Best Exercises for Osteoporosis

In addition to completing formal workout programs and exercise routines, people with osteoporosis can increase daily activity by walking more often, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and performing housework and other chores at a faster-than-average pace. Some other recommended exercises for osteoporosis include:

  • Tai Chi
  • Hiking
  • Cardio kickboxing
  • Step aerobics
  • Tennis
  • Light jogging
  • Speed walking
  • Dance classes
  • Racquetball
  • Gymnastics
  • Team sports including basketball, softball, football, volleyball and baseball

Exercises such as biking, cycling, swimming and parachuting are not as effective for increasing bone density and bone strength, but are still good heart conditioning exercises. It’s important to note that too much aerobic exercise, especially in women, can interfere with estrogen production. A lack of estrogen in the body can increase the risk of bone loss, especially in women after menopause.

Weight-Bearing Exercises for Osteoporosis

Using free weights, resistance bands or a balance ball can help you perform a variety of weight-bearing and strengthening routines without a formal routine. Weight-bearing exercises can be performed three days per week for 25 to 30 minutes, and you can perform a total body workout or focus on either the upper body or lower body each time. Examples of weight-bearing exercises that are a good match for those with osteoporosis include:

  • Plantar Flexors
  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Curls
  • Knee Extensions
  • Leg Lifts
  • Hip Extensions
  • Hip Flexors
  • Knee Flexors
  • Hip Abductors

Varying the different exercises will keep things interesting and more intensity will build stronger bones. Choose exercises that you enjoy so that you can stick with your program for the long run. Remember that as you get stronger, it’s important to increase the resistance or the weights, rather than doing more repetitions. You should also always check with your health care provider before you start your exercise program. If you’re just getting started with working out, work with a personal trainer so that you can learn some basic routines without injuring yourself.

Talk to your doctor about an exercise regimen that will keep your bones strong with osteoporosis. Even though the effects of osteoporosis cannot be reversed, you can prevent further bone loss and keep your body healthy with a solid exercise and nutrition program.