Osteoporosis Exercise Guidelines

Osteoporosis Exercise Guidelines

Osteoporosis Exercise Action Plan:

Current guidelines from the National Osteoporosis Foundation and BoneFit

  1. Strength training, 2-3 times per week
  2. Balance training, 15-20 minutes a day. Incorporate into daily activities.
  3. Aerobic exercise, 5 or more days a week in bouts of 10+ minutes for a total of 30 min/day. Weight-bearing (on your feet) is the most beneficial aerobic exercise for bones.
  4. Spine sparing: keep a neutral spine and limit forward bending. Bending forward or twisting are “most risky when rapid, repetitive, weighted, bending all the way forward, or twisting to the side.”
  5. Strengthen your back muscles, daily for 5-10 minutes, with back extensions.

If you’re just starting out or getting back into exercise, start with low intensities and always check first with your healthcare provider.

Here are some Osteoporosis Exercise Examples from the NOF.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!



Comments (Scroll to the bottom to leave your comment)

  1. I have just been diagnosed with osteoporosis. I can make the modifications for yoga and pilates, but am unsure of whether there are modifications to be made for bellydancing, another exercise I enjoy. I particularly enjoy body rolls, shimmies, and the hips going up and down.

    I did have a femoral neck fracture that was repaired with pins. My orthopedist doesn’t feel I need to change anything. My physical therapist feel that due to my osteoporosis, I need to be careful of bones and joints.

    Your opinion is appreciated.

  2. Judy, there are different styles of belly dance—some with more gentle moves, others with moves that may be risky. Many kinds of dance can be adapted to make them safe with bone loss. Much of the hip movement with belly dancing is initiated with a leg movement, but it’s the spine that you’ll want to be sure is not being pushed to the end range of motion with twists or bends. I wouldn’t be able to say firmly yes or no, because whether it’s belly dancing or any other exercise, the key to staying safe is adapting the activity, so that it doesn’t put your spine at risk. Keep an elongated spine with no forward bending, no twisting to the point to strain, no deep side bends, no sudden jerky movements, and no excessive compressive forces from above or below. These recommendations are for any level of bone loss, osteoporosis or low bone density—osteopenia.

    If you take a belly dancing class, let your instructor know which movements you need to avoid so that she can adapt them for you. Some moves will probably need to be in a smaller range of motion to keep them safe. You might go over the exercises you’re doing with your healthcare provider and/or physical therapist to see if they’re appropriate for your bone density. The Too Fit to Fracture guidelines give the ok for vigorous activities if a person hasn’t fractured, but within the parameters of protecting your spine with the above precautions. If a person has fractured, they encourage a moderate intensity level.

    Too Fit to Fracture:
    http://www.osteoporosis.ca/wp-content/uploads/OC-Too-Fit-To-Fracture-Osteo- Exercise-Book.pdf
    NOF Moving Safely link:

    Best wishes!

  3. I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis over 7 years ago. I am now 65 years old. I was inconsistent with your strength training workout and walking until January of this year.
    I now do your do your strength training workout 1 day per week, your band workout 1 day per week, and power walk outside 4 days per week and rest on Sundays. I have not missed a day of this routine since I started.
    Do you recommend adding anything else to my routine, or do you think it is good as It is in order to slow down bone loss?

  4. I faithfully do your Safe Strength Training for Osteoporosis Prevention 2 times a week. I know you said not to keep doing the same workout routine I did try the resistance band dvd but find it too difficult. Do you have any other workout DVDs you could recommend? Your DVDs specifically address osteoporosis and everything else that I have looked at on line does not state for Osteoporosis. I don’t want switch over to another workout routine if it is not going to help with my osteoporosis (and possibly do more damage). I know you referenced a 3rd DVD, but I don’t think you were able to go to production with it. Is this still something you are still considering? Any advise you can give us appreciate d. Thank you!

  5. Hi, Virginia!

    I’m so pleased to hear that you’re consistent with your workouts! It’s quite an accomplishment that many people find difficult to attain. Well done! I’m not familiar with other workouts, but here are some suggestions:

    If you find the resistance band workout too difficult, try using a lighter, thinner band or even no band at all, just doing the arm or leg motions. That way, you’ll gently and gradually build your strength.

    For variation with my Safe Strength Training video, you could do a few extra reps for some or all of the exercises. You probably have the instructions and exercise form down pat, so could do this during the extra time while I’m giving instructions.

    You could also pick certain exercises and do 2 sets, hitting your back button. That second set can often be with a 1-pound heavier weight if you haven’t yet reached your maximum.

    Varying however you like is just fine between the free weights and bands, as long as you get a different workout in about every 4 workouts. It’s a good “surprise” for your bones. People tend to gravitate toward one or the other video, but doing a different workout a couple of times a month is very beneficial for your muscles and bones. So is varying your cardio. If walking is your main aerobic workout, do some sidestepping, skipping, agility moves, go up hills or steps (using the railing), and make it brisk. Walking poles can also help with stability and engaging upper body muscles.

    Best wishes,

  6. Dawn, it looks like you have a very good routine!

    With 2 strength training workouts a week, make sure you’re working at a moderately-high intensity and challenging your muscles. Don’t just go through the motions. You should be tired and, keeping good form, barely able to complete the last repetition.

    You could add some agility moves to your power walks, like side-stepping, skipping, etc., but only if you feel very stable and take it slowly.

    Find times throughout your day to stand on one foot with support close by if needed. Fracture prevention is why we’re doing all of these exercises and that often depends on how agile we are. Strength plays a big part, too. On an Amazon review of my Safe Strength Training for Osteoporosis Prevention video, one buyer posted how, after a year of strength training, she’d hadn’t fallen in a place she’d fallen the year before. She had to run a bit to catch herself, but she now had the strength to stay upright. She was elated!

    In my classes, we sometimes have “Extra Rep” days when we do more reps of certain exercises. You could easily do these when I’m explaining an exercise in the transitions between exercises. We also have “Double Set” days, picking certain exercises to do 2 sets, sometimes using a heavier weight for the 2nd set. If you do go up in weight the 2nd set, you could reduce the reps, even down to 5-6.

    Getting up often throughout the day helps remind our bones to stay strong. Don’t sit for more than 20 minutes without getting up, even for a few high steps in place. Great for the metabolism as well as the bones. You can use some of the moves from my warmups.

    A day of rest is a good idea, especially when you have such a consistent routine. It doesn’t mean a day on the couch, though! Being up and about, an easy walk around the block, or some light gardening are all good activities for your rest day.

    Best wishes,

  7. Dear Susie,
    I am so happy I found your DVD. I am 53 years old female and have osteoporosis. I have been playing golf 3 times a week. Do you think it’s safe for me to keep playing golf, and if so, what should I pay attention to?

    Thank you so much!

  8. I do not have a dvd player, is there a possibility of a streaming subscription or some other way. Thank you so much

  9. I have signed up five times for the exercise log over the past two years and have never received a reply. I must be doing something wrong. I would still like to have that if possible.
    Thank you.

  10. Hi, Kay! The exercise logs have probably gone to your spam or promotional folder. I just attached them in an email to you.