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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. Judy says:

    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.

    • Susie Hathaway says:

      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!

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