What are the Best Osteoporosis Exercises?

Erin J. Hill

The best osteoporosis exercises are those that help strengthen the bones and muscles, especially in the legs and chest areas. By working these muscles, posture and balance are often improved, which can help prevent falls and bone fractures. There are three main types of osteoporosis exercises that are generally recommended: strength training, aerobic exercises, and stretching exercises.

Osteoporosis is a condition that results in weakened and fragile bones.
Osteoporosis is a condition that results in weakened and fragile bones.

Strength training includes the use of free weights, resistance bands, and weight machines. These are some of the best osteoporosis exercises because they help to strengthen the entire body, allowing sufferers to better keep their balance and maintain the proper posture. There is some evidence to show that strength training may even help slow down or stop bone loss.

Yoga is a low-impact, muscle-strengthening exercise practice which may help those with osteoporosis.
Yoga is a low-impact, muscle-strengthening exercise practice which may help those with osteoporosis.

Aerobic exercises are anything that gets the heart rate up, including walking and aerobic dance. Most times these type of exercises help to strengthen the legs and hips, making falls less likely and helping to strengthen important muscles for continued balance and control. An added bonus is that aerobic exercise, done at least three times per week, has been shown to help improve heart and circulatory health for most patients.

Water exercises, which put less stress on the bones, are considered good osteoporosis exercises.
Water exercises, which put less stress on the bones, are considered good osteoporosis exercises.

Stretching includes activities like yoga and some Pilates exercises. Not all moves are recommended for those with osteoporosis, but many of them can be performed with no real strain to the bones or muscles. By helping patients gain greater flexibility, stretching exercises allow patients to maintain balance when walking and performing everyday activities. They may also help clear the mind, and improve circulation in the legs and trunk.

Regular exercise can help increase mobility and independence in seniors with osteroporosis.
Regular exercise can help increase mobility and independence in seniors with osteroporosis.

Before patients find the best osteoporosis exercises for their bodies, it is important that they discuss their goals with a doctor. The exercises that each person can safely perform will vary, and may depend on the amount of bone loss that has already occurred. A bone density test and a fitness test will likely be conducted to get an accurate reading of the type and amount of exercise that would prove beneficial. Fortunately, even very elderly patients or those with progressed forms of osteoporosis can usually find an exercise regimen that works for them. Water exercises, for example, put less stress on the bones, while still offering cardiovascular and muscular benefits.

Walking is a healthy exercise for the elderly, especially for those at risk of osteoporosis.
Walking is a healthy exercise for the elderly, especially for those at risk of osteoporosis.

There are some exercises that should not be performed by those with osteoporosis. Running and jumping, for instance, puts too much strain on the legs, back, and hips. Other unsafe workouts include bending and twisting, especially when done in a jerking or uneven motions. The best osteoporosis exercises are those that allow smooth and fluid motions to allow for an easier transition for weakened bones.

Elderly osteoporosis patients may get help from a walker to partake in daily exercise.
Elderly osteoporosis patients may get help from a walker to partake in daily exercise.
Stretching exercises help those with osteoporosis gain greater flexibility and balance.
Stretching exercises help those with osteoporosis gain greater flexibility and balance.
Resistance bands -- which stretch like giant rubber bands -- can be used for rehabilitation exercises.
Resistance bands -- which stretch like giant rubber bands -- can be used for rehabilitation exercises.

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