Osteoporosis/Osteopenia and Exercise


Osteoporosis and osteopenia are diseases of the bones characterised by a decline in bone mineral density. Osteoporosis is the more advanced form of the disease, and is a leading contributor to broken bones following a fall or other traumatic event.

How can exercise help prevent osteoporosis?

The bones of the human body are greatly responsive to “stress”, and they require this stress in order to grow or maintain their mineral density. The best type of stress for bones is weight-bearing activity that results in impact stress (such as running or jumping), or resistance stress (such as strength training). In fact, people who perform weight-bearing activity regularly in their lifestyle are at a 40-45% lower chance of hip fracture compared to people who are less active.

What kind of exercise should I do to help prevent osteoporosis?

The best type of exercise for your bones will vary depending on your current level of bone density. In general you should aim for some type of impact or resistance training 3 or more times per week, preferably in a supervised environment if you have an increased risk of falls. Resistance training should vary and should progressively get harder to ensure the bones continue to respond to stress. If your bone density is quite low you should start with some walking and light body weight exercises at home (mini squats, wall push ups etc.). If your bone density is only mildly affected higher impact activity such as skipping or jumping, combined with progressive strength training, will get you the best results. If you need more assistance, be sure to contact our Exercise Physiologist for a tailored exercise and lifestyle management program by calling Kardinia Health on (03) 5202 9333 or you can book an appointment here.