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Exercise and physical activity for osteoporosis and bone health

If you have – or are at risk of – osteoporosis, you should do more exercise, rather than less. Being physically active and exercising helps you in so many ways. It is very unlikely to cause a broken bone.

If you have spinal fractures or lots of other broken bones, you may need to change some exercises to be safe.

We can help you make the changes that work for you, so you can continue the lifestyle you enjoy as far as possible.

Find out about the different types of exercise you can do to help your bone strength 

If you use a wheelchair, you'll need to approach weight-bearing exercise in a different way. If your body allows, standing up as much as possible – so that the bones in your legs are supporting your body's weight – is very good for your bones. If that’s not possible for you, you can still strengthen the bones in your arms by using light dumbbells.

Choosing exercise and movements that work for you

Exercise and safe movement helps with bone health and osteoporosis in three main ways. It:

  • promotes bone and muscle strength
  • keeps you steady
  • cares for your back.

For an introduction to these benefits, read our fact sheet, 'About exercise for osteoporosis and bone health'. It can help you think about how the benefits apply to you, and whether you should prioritise any single one.

Remember, any exercise you do for your bone health should be in addition to the exercise you do for your general health. And don't forget to warm up before you start, and cool down properly afterwards.

See our How to exercise safely for your bones film

Exercise films and fact sheets

Use our collection of films and fact sheets to practice exercise routines and movements that are safe if you have osteoporosis or risk factors for weaker bones.

We've included adaptations, so you can exercise according to what you can manage. You’ll find something that’s right for you.

Download our fact sheet

About exercise

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Before and after exercise

Find out how to prepare and warm up before exercise and cool down after.

More about this before and after exercise film

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Keeping steady

Find out how exercises can make you more steady to prevent slips, trips and falls.

More about this keeping steady film

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Caring for your back

Find out about bending forward and how exercise can help with pain and posture after spinal fractures.

More about this caring for your back film

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If you’re still unable to watch the films, you can find all of our exercise films on YouTube.

A number of volunteers and professionals gave their time to support and appear in these films, including:

  • Kerrie Hodges, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist, Cheltenham General Hospital (Level 4 Postural Stability Instructor)
  • Sarah Legg, Senior Physiotherapist Rheumatology, Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath (Level 4 Postural Stability Instructor)
  • Lynne Robinson, Founder and Director, Body Control Pilates
  • Sandra Shaw, exercise specialist (Level 4 Postural Stability Instructor)

Watch our discussion: 

Rheumatology Physiotherapist Sarah Legg answers your questions on exercising after spinal fractures. This film is part of our #BoneMatters series of events 

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Help our specialist nurses continue to support those in need