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Exercise is an important step towards protecting your bones

Exercises for Healthy Bones

Exercise is an important step towards protecting your bones, as it helps protect your spine, slows the rate of bone loss, and builds muscle strength, which can prevent falls.

Exercise is recommended for all people with osteoporosis, even people who have had a spine or hip fracture. If you are new to exercise, talk to your doctor before starting any type of program. Consider speaking to a physical therapist or kinesiologist to get advice on exercises that are right for you. Experts recommend 4 types of exercise:

Strength Training

Frequency: At least 2 days/week

  • Exercises for legs, arms, chest, shoulders, back
  • Use body weight against gravity, bands, or weights*
  • 8 – 12 repetitions per exercise

Balance Exercises

Frequency: Every day

  • Tai Chi, dancing, walking on your toes or heels
  • Have a sturdy chair, counter, or wall nearby, and try (from easier to harder): shift weight from heels to toes while standing; stand heel to toe; stand on one foot; walk on a pretend line

Posture Awareness

Frequency: Every day

  • Gently tuck your chin in and draw your chest up slightly
  • Imagine your collarbones are wings – spread your wings slightly without pulling your shoulders back

Aerobic Physical Activity

Frequency: At least 150 mins/week

  • Bouts of 10 mins or more, moderate to vigorous intensity*
  • You should feel like your heart is beating faster and you are breathing harder
  • You might be able to talk while doing it, but not sing

*If you have a spine fracture, consult a physical therapist/kinesiologist before using weights, and choose moderate, not vigorous aerobic physical activity.

Video Series on Exercise and Osteoporosis

Dr. Lora Giangregario

Osteoporosis Canada has developed a video series on exercise and osteoporosis in partnership with the University of Waterloo and Geriatric Education and Research in Aging Sciences Centre which provides ideas for safe and effective exercise and physical activity.

The video series tells the stories of four very different people with osteoporosis and showing you their innovative solutions to keep healthy and active.

The information contained in these videos is not intended to replace medical advice. Consult your healthcare provider or a physical therapist about what exercises are right for you.

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