Bone-Building Exercise Tips for Osteoporosis

Many tips and suggestions whether you are starting an exercise program, in the middle or advanced.

Peer Reviewed

Regular physical activity from your teenage years onwards can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis in later in life. If you do not exercise regularly, the following tips—under your doctor's advice and guidance may help you to begin a realistic exercise program to benefit your health and well-being. And remember, a regular exercise program can be fun especially when it is filled with activities you enjoy.
Person stair climbing, focus on feetBone-Building Exercise Tips

Tip #1. Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program or increasing the intensity of your current routine. This word of advice is most important if you have or are at risk for osteoporosis.

Tip #2. Choose physical activities that include weight-bearing and resistance exercises. These activities are especially helpful to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Also, include exercises that promote balance, coordination, flexibility, and strength.

Weight-bearing exercise uses bone and muscle to work against gravity.

  • Bowling
  • Skating
  • Skiing
  • Dancing
  • Stair climbing
  • Walking, jogging
  • Chin-ups, push-ups, sit-ups
  • Elastic band exercises (also called resistance tubing)
  • Free weights
  • Weight machines
  • Pilates
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga

Tip #3. Start slowly; progress gradually; keep your goals sensible.

Tip #4. Exercise regularly. Three short sessions (eg, 15 minutes) is better than one long session (eg, 45 minutes).

Tip #5. Always follow the exercise program prescribed by your doctor or physical therapist. Exercise is good, but you don't want to put yourself at risk for a spinal fracture!

Tip #6. If you include activites you enjoy into your exercise routines you will be more likely to stick with it long term.

Talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about exercise and activites that can effectively benefit your bone-building goals without increasing your risk for injury.

Beginners...Start Here

  • Bowling
  • Climbing stairs (don't take the elevator!)
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • House cleaning
  • Light weight training (with supervision)
  • Tai Chi
  • Walking (choose even surfaces, such as a treadmill)
  • Yoga
  • Pilates 

Intermediate...Start Here

  • Aerobics
  • Basketball
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Walking (with weighted vest)
  • Weight training

Advanced...Start Here

  • Backpacking and hiking
  • High impact aerobics
  • Jumping rope
  • Running
  • Soccer
Updated on: 07/18/17
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This article was reviewed by Isador H. Lieberman, MD.
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