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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.  However, you should know that osteoporosis and bone loss are not a normal part of getting older.  Things you can do to prevent bone loss include eating right and exercising more.

Exercise is important for both the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with the condition, a regular workout program can keep you from losing more bone mass. Weight-bearing exercises are the most helpful, like walking, jogging, dancing, and tennis. These activities make your body work against gravity to keep you upright and moving.  Your bones react to the weight on them by building themselves up and getting stronger.

A regular, properly designed exercise program may also actually help prevent falls and fractures. That’s because exercise not only strengthens bones and muscles and gives joints more support; exercise improves balance, coordination, and flexibility.  That’s key for people with osteoporosis.

There are two types of weight-bearing exercise: high-impact and low-impact. High-impact includes workouts like:

Brisk walking

Climbing stairs




Jumping rope

Step aerobics

Tennis or other racquet sports

Yard work, like pushing a lawnmower or heavy gardening

But be cautious:  High-impact weight-bearing exercises may not be safe for you if you have a higher chance of breaking a bone. Talk to your doctor about your workout routine. They may recommend that you focus on low-impact exercises that are less likely to cause fractures and still build up your bone density. These include:

Elliptical training machines

Low-impact aerobics

Stair-step machines

Walking (either outside or on a treadmill machine)

If you’re new to exercise or haven’t worked out for a while, you should aim to gradually increase the amount you do until you get to 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise per day on most days of the week.