Help Boost Bone Health With These Easy Exercises

If you are at risk for osteoporosis—or already have it—a simple exercise plan featuring regular weight-bearing and resistance exercises can help you manage the condition.

By
Health Monitor Staff

Mirabai Holland M.F.A., creator of the first osteoporosis prevention exercise class in the US, shows us 5 easy bone-friendly exercises you can do at home to strengthen the areas most at risk for osteoporotic fracture: the spine, the thigh bone at the hip and the forearm at the wrist.

Best of all? You don’t need any fancy equipment—just a bath towel for resistance, your own body weight and a kitchen chair for balance. Why not give ’em a try?

*Important: Always consult with your doctor before doing this or any other new exercise program.

Towel spine stretch

Stand tall, shoulders square over your hips, feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. With abdominals contracted, hold a towel just above your head a little wider than shoulder width, elbows slightly bent.

With your arms just behind your head, pull your arms apart, stretching the towel while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold 10 seconds while exhaling; release. Repeat 3-6 times.

Spinal arch

Stand tall, shoulders square over your hips, feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Place your hands behind you on the small of your back. Keeping your abs pulled, slowly and gently arch your back while looking forward. Hold 10 seconds while exhaling; release. Repeat 3-6 times.

Hip flexion

Using a chair or wall for support, stand tall, shoulders square over your hips, with weight on one leg, abdominals contracted.

While exhaling, slowly lift the other leg straight out—not higher than your hip. Hold 2 seconds, then lower. Repeat 10-15 times; switch legs.

Hip extension

Use the same starting position as in the hip flexion exercise before. While exhaling, lift leg straight out behind you to about knee height without bending forward. Hold 2 seconds and lower. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch legs.

Towel wrist-builder

Grasp towel with both hands about 6 inches apart. Wring it as tightly as you can in one direction and hold 10 seconds while exhaling. Wring and hold in the other direction. Repeat 3-6 times.


If you have osteoporosis, there are some things you should never do:

  • Bend forward at the waist with your back rounded (this puts too much pressure on the vertebrae)
  • Toe touches
  • Sit-ups
  • Ab crunches
Published
June 2013