Who needs exercise equipment to strengthen the body when you have gravity?
Contrary to what many people believe, exercise is one of the best things you can do if you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis. When you’re doing weight-bearing exercises, you are resisting gravity’s pull. This puts positive stress on your bones and can help them maintain bone density. (Learn more about how exercise helps treat osteoporosis here.)
And of course, resistance exercise strengthens the muscles throughout the body, which can help with coordination, balance, agility, and strength. All of these things can reduce your risk of falling and fractures, which is a serious risk for people with osteoporosis and can make the condition worse.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, low-impact weight-bearing exercises are the way to go, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Low-impact moves do not use jarring, forceful movements against the ground that can cause pain on the joints. For example, running on an elliptical is a low-impact exercise; running on a treadmill is not.
These exercises can be done at home with zero equipment. Your body weight provides all the resistance you need.
1. Stationary marching.
Marching in place is a simple leg exercise that develops stability in your lower-body muscles. This helps maintain your ability to walk without falling. Try stationary marching for five to 10 minutes at a time, every day.
2. Climbing stairs.
Walking up and down stairs is another way to challenge and strengthen your leg muscles, but with an added element of lifting your body weight from one step to the next. This creates extra resistance to help you build more muscle and bone strength. Try stair climbing for five to 10 minutes at a time, every day.
3. Calf raises.
Calf raises help strengthen the muscles and bones around the ankles. This joint provides stability when standing and walking, so strengthening the ankles is important for preventing falls.
To do a calf raise, stand in place with feet shoulder-width apart, and then lift yourself up onto your toes, and then carefully lower your feet back to the ground.
While doing your daily exercises for osteoporosis, don’t forget to stretch, which improves stability, balance, and range of motion to help prevent falls and fractures. Here are more guidelines for exercising safely with osteoporosis.