What kind of exercise should I get to help build
Weight bearing (walking, jogging, dancing, skiing, etc.) and resistive
exercises (weight training and vigorous water exercises) can help increase
GOAL: 30-40 minutes of weight bearing exercise 3 to 4
times a week
- Exercise is site specific. For example, if the wrist is exercised
the bone density in the wrist will increase but not in other parts of
- If exercise ceases, bone mass will be lost.
- Bone must be overloaded for exercise to be effective. This means the
exercise must provide loads greater than those to which the body is
- The most effective resistance training is done with high loads and
low repetitions. Doing 10 repetitions with a heavy weight is better
than 50 repetitions with a lighter weight.
- For persons very inactive at baseline, even non-weight bearing exercises
- If you are out of shape, check with your doctor first. Think about
working with a trainer or physical therapist to start.
- Persons with established osteoporosis should AVOID spinal flexion
exercises (forward bending) and be encouraged to do spinal extension
exercises. An exercise plan for anyone with established osteoporosis
should be supervised by a health professional.
Mary Laya, MD, MPH
Department of Medicine / Division of General Internal Medicine
University of Washington Medical Center