Exercising with osteoporosis: Stay active the safe way

If you have osteoporosis, you might mistakenly think exercise will lead to fracture. In fact, though, using your muscles helps protect your bones.. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Osteoporosis is a major cause of disability in older women. A bone-weakening disorder, osteoporosis often results in fractures in the hip and spine — which can severely impair your mobility and independence.

How can you reduce your risk of these life-altering injuries? Exercise can help.

Certain types of exercise may strengthen muscles and bones, while other types of exercises are designed to improve your balance — which can help prevent falls.

Benefits of exercise

Women who have been physically active throughout their lives generally have stronger bones than do women who have led more sedentary lives. But it's never too late to start exercising. For postmenopausal women, regular physical activity can:

  • Increase your muscle strength
  • Improve your balance
  • Make you better able to carry out daily tasks and activities
  • Maintain or improve your posture
  • Relieve or decrease pain
  • Improve your sense of well-being

Exercising if you have osteoporosis means finding the safest, most enjoyable activities for you given your overall health and amount of bone loss. There's no one-size-fits-all prescription.

Before you start

Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program for osteoporosis. You may need some tests first, including:

  • Bone density measurement
  • Fitness assessment

In the meantime, think about what kind of activities you enjoy most. If you choose an exercise you enjoy, you're more likely to stick with it over time.

May. 22, 2013 See more In-depth