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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What exercise is safe to do if you have osteoporosis?

    I have recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis but I would still like to continue exercising. Is there anything I should or should not be doing?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Jason Tomlinson

    Personal Trainer

    Hello,

    There are a number of different forms of exercise you can do for osteoporosis that can help reduce further bone mass loss and look after what bone tissue is still remaining.

    Walking, jogging, resistance bands, body weight exercises, dumbbell/weight machine exercises can all still be used. Water based activities like hydrotherapy and aqua aerobics can also be excellent choices due to not being weight bearing activities, however they wont really help reduce bone mass loss, but rather maintain cardiovascular fitness which is still important, especially in later years of life.

    I'm not sure on how severe your osteoporosis is but some things you should avoid if you have had a fracture are high impact movements like jumping, heavy lifting, twisting or jarring movements and abdominal crunches/bending.

    Personally even if I haven't had a fracture yet I would still avoid those movements just to be safe but that would be for you and your doctor/physio to discuss.

    Daily exercise is what you should be aiming for or atleast 5 times a week. If you're unsure it's always best to talk to your doctor or a physio before commencing exercise just to make sure it's going to be safe for your level of osteoporosis. 

    I hope this helps!

    Jason


  • Neil Synnott

    Exercise Physiologist, Physiotherapist

    I am qualified as a PHYSIOTHERAPIST and ACCREDITED EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST.I primarily use the McKENZIE METHOD for assessment and management of musculoskeletal pain disorders. The McKENZIE ... View Profile

    Hi all,

    Jason has made a few good points re exercise with osteoporosis. Thanks Jason!

    First - what is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is the weakening of bone structure or architecture. Osteoporosis occurs due to an overall loss of bone minerals - and is related to hormones, diet, exposure to the sun as well as movement/exercise.

    Prior to osteoporosis is a condition known as osteopenia. If you have been diagnosed with osteopenia, this is the time to really increase bone health strategies!

    Exercise for osteoporosis needs to include some weightbearing activities. All exercises need to be completed as tolerated… making yourself sore is not a good idea! Good examples are:

    • walking (with supportive shoes, ideally prescribed by a podiatrist)
    • light resistance exercises - using dumbbells, resistance bands
    • Complete as main varied movements as possible (stimulates bone development for different parts of the bones)
    If you have concerns, discuss with a physiotherapist in your local area. I would suggest you do this prior to commencing an exercise program.

    As Jason mentioned, completing some exercise every/ most days is vital. Our body and bones are made to move… thus everyday is best if you can achieve this. If we are not providing enough stimulus for the bones to remodel, the rate of bone loss with osteoporosis will not be stopped.

    Finally, making sure that other aspects of bone health are being looked after - dietary intake of calcium, supplementation as needed (discuss with GP) and daily 15-20 minutes of sun-exposure.

    All the best, Neil

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