Exercise and staying active with osteoporosis

If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, or have risk factors, you may want to know how exercise can help to promote bone strength and whether exercise or movements are safe to continue or start doing.

Be confident – being active and doing the exercise you enjoy is important – and it’s unlikely to cause a broken bone.

Can I continue to exercise?

After a diagnosis of osteoporosis or if you have risk factors, you should do more exercise, rather than less.

Remember, it’s never too late to start moving. Something is always better than nothing, and even minimal exercise could slow down the loss of bone strength.

There are many benefits to exercise and keeping physically active:

  • It helps to strengthen your muscle and bone, leading to fewer broken bones
  • It improves your balance so that you are less likely to slip, trip or fall
  • It helps to reduce your risk and symptoms of other medical conditions
  • It helps you to continue to do everyday activities and live independently when you are older
  • It improves your brain function, makes you happier and builds your confidence

It’s true that if you have spinal fractures or lots of other broken bones you may need to modify some exercises to be on the safe side, but generally exercise won’t cause you to have a fracture.

If you are well enough to do some more intense exercise, then your bone strength may even improve.

You can adapt your exercise according to what you can manage – you’ll find something that’s right for you.

Exercise to promote bone and muscle strength

Being physically active and doing exercise helps to keep bones strong and healthy throughout life. That’s because your bones are living tissues that get stronger when you use them.

Keeping up with exercise as you age is important. It strengthens your muscles and keeps your bones strong - making them less likely to break by maintaining bone strength.

Bones stay strong if you give them work to do. For exercise to be most effective at keeping bones strong you need to combine: 

  • weight-bearing exercise with impact
  • muscle strengthening exercise

In the near future, we're launching new videos and printed information, to help you safely exercise to promote your bone strength. If you have any questions, our friendly team of specialist nurses are here to help.

Exercise to keep you steady – preventing slips, trips and falls

Being physically active and doing specific exercises can help keep you steady so you’ll be much less likely to fall over and break a bone.

This can make a real difference if you have other medical conditions that cause you to fall over, or if you are getting older and your balance isn’t so good.

If you have noticed that your balance isn’t very good, or if you have had a recent slip, trip or fall, you can do exercise to improve your balance and muscle strength.

It’s also important to work on your balance regularly if you are over the age of about 65 and you aren’t taking part in physical sport or leisure activity.

If you’re thinking of starting a new activity like brisk walking it’s especially important to have good balance and coordination before you start.

In the near future, we're launching new videos and printed information, to help you safely exercise to keep your steady. If you have any questions, our friendly team of specialist nurses are here to help.

Exercise and movements to care for your back

An osteoporosis diagnosis doesn’t mean you need to limit what you do. In fact, this is the moment you can benefit from keeping mobile and active. 

Most people with osteoporosis are unlikely to experience a spinal fracture during exercise.

We understand you need to be able to bend forward and move around as part of your everyday activities. This is generally safe and won’t cause a spinal fracture, but there are a number of safe techniques for day-to-day moving and lifting that you can learn to help reduce your risk of injury.

To further minimises your risk of spinal fractures and relieve pain when exercising and moving:

  • Keeping your back straight
  • Learning safe moving and lifting techniques

This applies equally to you whether you have a spinal fracture or not.

In the near future, we're launching new videos and printed information, to help you safely exercise to care for your back. If you have any questions, our friendly team of specialist nurses are here to help.