5 Exercises Osteoporosis Patients Should Avoid

While there are many myths about aging, that we lose bone mass as we get older isn’t one of them. Bone mineral density (BMD) reduces as we age, making our bones weaker and more fragile. When our BMD is too low, we develop osteoporosis.

This condition mostly affects post-menopausal women, due to low estrogen levels, but older men can develop osteoporosis, too, if they don’t maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Research has proven that regular exercise can slow down the loss of BMD and even increase it as we age, but it’s not advisable to pick a random workout on the web and run with it. Some exercises can increase the risk of fractures or worsen the pain in osteoporosis patients.

Below are exercises osteoporosis patients should avoid.

1. Exercises that involve forward flexion of the spine.

Doing exercises that involve curving your spine puts a lot of pressure on the spine. This consequently increases the risk of lower back pain and spine fractures.

You need to be careful when choosing abdominal exercises. Most of them—such as sit-ups, crunches, and ab curls—involve the forward flexion of the spine.

2. High impact exercises.

High impact exercises are ideal for people with healthy bones, but they can cause fractures in osteoporosis patients.

Now, you don’t want to avoid these exercises completely. In the study I quoted earlier, researchers found that high impact exercises are the most effective at improving BMD. Therefore, choose easy high impact exercises depending on the severity of your condition.

Obviously, box jump exercises are out of the question, but you can try simpler exercises like jumping rope or high knees. And, of course, check with your doctor before adding high impact exercises to your routine.

3. Cycling.

Cycling won’t improve your condition, since it’s a non-weight bearing exercise. To improve BMD, you need to do perform weight-bearing exercises, most of which are performed while on your feet.

I may also note that cycling can cause knee overuse injury, which will only worsen your condition. Other non-weight bearing exercises—like swimming—won’t improve your BMD, but they strengthen your heart.

5 Exercises Osteoporosis Patients Should Avoid

4. Exercises that involve twisting your spine.

If you’re a yogi, chances are your routine includes a few spinal twists. Such exercises can hurt your spine, if you have osteoporosis. You may also want to skip oblique exercises, such as the Russian twists and side bends.

5. Golf.

I’m a big advocate of playing sports to stay in shape. However, golf may not be the best option for osteoporosis patients due to twisting of the waist as you swing the club.

Avoid other sports with similar movements such as tennis and bowling, especially if your condition is severe. However, some sources say playing tennis at low intensity can strengthen your bones.

Is there an exercise that has worsened your osteoporosis? Share your experiences in the comments.

Related at Care2

Images via Getty


Carol C
Carol C6 days ago

Good to know! Thank you for this very helpful post.

John W
John W10 days ago


Greta L
Greta L10 days ago

Thanks for sharing

Carole R
Carole R11 days ago

Thanks for the information. I have osteoporosis and I'm recovering from a fractured spine.

Kathy K
Kathy K11 days ago


Marija M
Marija M11 days ago


Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga11 days ago


Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace11 days ago

Thank you. Good to know.

Leo C
Leo Custer11 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

Louise R
Louise R11 days ago

Thank you