The Best Type of Exercise for Osteoporosis

Regular physical activity has a multitude of health benefits but not all exercises are equal when it comes to building bone strength.  (Beck BR, 2016)

In the early 1990’s, researchers began to look at brisk walking exercise programmes in post-menopausal women to assess the effect on bone density.  Results showed that brisk walking may help off-set age related bone loss, but since then studies show normal walking regimes may have none to minimal effect on bone density unless they are performed for more than 6 months in duration or if they are combined with progressive resistance training programmes. (Beck BR, 2016) (Ma DI, 2013)

Research consistently shows that adults involved in high impact, weight-bearing sports such as basketball, volleyball, football, gymnastics and ballet dancing have much better levels of bone density. (Beck BR, 2016).  The next best thing is progressive resistance training (building resistance over time), impact activities such as aerobics, controlled jumps, step ups and hops, and running/jogging. (Osteoporosis Australia Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee, 2017) (Beck BR, 2016) Other non-impact exercises such as posture training and balance exercises are also important as they can help to reduce the risk of falls and fractures.

Not all exercise is suitable for everybody so consult with an exercise physiologist before you start an exercise programme.  An exercise physiologist is trained to take in to consideration any other medical conditions such as arthritis, history of falls, muscle mass, frailty, fracture risk, neuromuscular, pulmonary or cardiovascular conditions to find the right programme for youCall us on 4957 7997 today to book your consultation.

Below are some photos of our patients performing balance, strengthening and impact exercises at our exercise clinic.

Best Exercise for Osteoporosis: Strengthening Spine: Seated Row       The Best Exercise for Osteoporosis: Balance Activities      Best Exercise for Osteoporosis: Step Up with Jump Back     


What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a common condition among Australians. Nearly one in 10 Australian men and women over 50 have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis or Osteopenia. (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017)

  • Osteopenia is the first stage when the bone loses minerals and becomes thinner and less dense. 
  • Osteoporosis occurs when further bone density is lost and the bones become more fragile. (Osteoporosis Australia Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee, 2017).

Low bone density is impossible to detect to the naked eye and often goes unnoticed until bones become so brittle that even a minor fall or bump cause a fracture.  Adults over 50 who have experienced a minimal trauma fracture, or who have one or more risk factors for a fracture, will be referred by their GP for bone density scan.  (The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Osteoporosis Australia, 2017)

Risks include a family history of osteoporosis, medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, depression, diabetes, and thyroid conditions.   Lifestyle factors such as smoking, >2 standard alcoholic drinks a day, multiple falls, low hormone levels and low levels of physical activity are also considered risk factors for osteoporosis.  (The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Osteoporosis Australia, 2017).

A free online bone assessment has been designed by Osteoporosis Australia and the Garvan Institute.  To assess your risk of osteoporosis and bone health… click on the image below.

                                                            Know Your Bones Link

Call Us Today on (07) 4957 7997 for a consultation or send an email to [email protected]!


Fact Sheets: Osteoporosis & Exercise

Osteoporosis Australia   http://www.osteoporosis.org.au/

Exercise is Medicine Australia    http://exerciseismedicine.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2014-Osteoporosis-FULL.pdf

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2017). What is Osteoporosis? Retrieved May 03, 2017, from AIHW: http://www.aihw.gov.au/osteoporosis/what-is/

Beck BR, D. R. (2016). Exercise and Sport Science Australia position statement on exercise prescription for the prevention and management of osteoporosis. Journal of Sport and Medicine in Sport.

Ma DI, L. W. (2013). Effects of walking on the preservation of bone mineral density in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Menopause, 1216-1228.

Osteoporosis Australia Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee. (2017, 02 07). What is it? . Retrieved May 01, 2017, from Osteoporosis Australia: http://www.osteoporosis.org.au/what-it

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Osteoporosis Australia. Osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis and management in postmenopausal women and men over 50 years of age. 2nd edn. East Melbourne, Vic: RACGP, 2017.