Exercises for Osteopenia and Osteoporosis Prevention – part 3

Written by

April 24, 2019

Building (excuse the osteoporosis pun!) on the two previous articles, this next series of four exercises focuses on strengthening your legs and hips by using your own body weight. Photos of the exercises are below and a link to the video demonstration is above this article. Other lifestyle adaptations that can help prevent osteoporosis were reviewed in a recent article by Dr. Aruna Nathan.

  • Forward alternating step downs
  • One leg dip squat
  • Standing abduction (outer lift)
  • Standing extension (hamstring-glute press back)

After doing the forward step downs, I like to recommend completing the remaining three exercises by staying on one side before switching to the other leg. This creates a longer period of time that you are weight-bearing on the standing, supporting leg. This in turn fatigues that leg and increases the desired force on the muscles and bone, helping to increase bone density.

When first starting this series if your standing leg gets too tired, feel free to switch back and forth. As you get stronger, spend more time on one leg to do several or all of the exercises. This is a great way to assess your progress. To increase resistance and for a greater challenge you can attach an ankle weight. Start with 1-2 pounds and increase as tolerated, initially with 10 repetitions and building up to 25 per exercise.

Additional benefits of this series is that little to no equipment is needed. You can stand on the bottom step of any flight of stairs holding on to the banister for support.

The 3 part Osteopenia/Osteoporosis series (links to Part 1 and Part 2 below) has provided you with a wonderful repetoire of exercises to stimulate bone, strengthen muscles and improve posture. We have demonstrated push ups and planks, tubing exercises for the upper back and shoulders, and standing weight-bearing exercises for the hips and legs. In total, they should improve bone density, decrease fall risk and decrease the incidence of fractures.

You don’t have to do all of the exercises each day but rather pick and choose a few each time for variety. Keeping an Exercise Calendar to track your progress can be very helpful and reinforcing!

So here’s a recap of the exercises from the 3 osteoporosis articles. Consider using this outline as a guide for part of your exercise routine.

Part One:

  • Wall pushups
  • Knee or full pushups on the floor
  • Elbow plank – on knees or with straight legs
  • Straight arm planks – on knees or with straight legs, try to lift one leg up at a time.

Part Two:

  • Band stretch above head to chest height
  • Triceps extension
  • Band stretch at waist height
  • Row using band wrapped around a sturdy vertical anchor.

Part Three:

  • Forward alternating step downs
  • One leg dip squat
  • Standing abduction (outer lift)
  • Standing extension (hamstring-glute press back)