Exercise plays an important role in bone health. It can help if you’re trying to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Research shows that exercise can help slow the loss of bone mass, which is what makes bones weak and more apt to break. What’s more, exercise makes muscles stronger and improves balance. Both of those factors help prevent injuries related to osteoporosis. When it comes to exercise, though, remember the basic rule: Talk with your doctor first! Safety is your main concern. Different types of exercises help people with osteoporosis. Some exercises help build bone mass. They also can keep weak bones from getting weaker. Other exercises help strengthen muscles. Strong muscles give you more support. You also could do exercises that help your balance and posture. This can help prevent falls and protect your spine. Weight-Bearing Exercise This type of exercise can help prevent osteoporosis. It also can help people who already have it. Any activity that forces the body to work against gravity is a weight-bearing exercise. There are both high-impact and low-impact types. If you have broken a bone in the past, stick with the low-impact ones. They're also safer for people at higher risk for breaking a bone. High-impact exercise includes: Dancing Jogging or running Jumping rope Climbing stairs Playing tennis Low-impact exercise includes: Walking Low-impact aerobics Elliptical training machine Stair-step machines Nonimpact Exercise If you have osteoporosis, non-impact exercises should also be part of your daily routine. They help you with: Balance Posture Function Tai chi, yoga, and Pilates programs can help improve balance. This can make you less likely to fall. Yoga and Pilates also can make you stronger. You also can do a series of posture exercises. These routines can help prevent the sloping shoulders and curved spine that some people get with osteoporosis. Practicing simple movements can help too. For instance, if you have trouble getting out of chairs, make practicing that part of your daily exercise routine. In time, those important movements should get easier. Muscle-Strengthening Exercise Strong muscles are important because they support your bones better. Muscles are attached to bones and muscle-strengthening exercises improve bone mineral density in the attached bones. Two good ways to strengthen muscles are cycling and swimming. Doctors also often suggest light weight training. Weightlifting will make your muscles stronger and build bone mass at the same time. Resistance band training also qualifies as a muscle strengthener. These elastic bands come in a variety of strengths. You might want to work with a physical therapist or trainer. These experts can craft routines and stretches to help you avoid injury and deal with problem areas. They can also provide variety to the routine so that it doesn’t get boring. What Else Do I Need to Know About Exercise? Exercise is a key part of preventing and treating osteoporosis. But it also poses risks. Falls and injuries can happen when you're exercising. If you have low bone mass, this could result in a broken bone. So, to make exercise as safe as possible, follow these simple rules: Talk with your doctor first: Always review an exercise program before you begin. This is especially important when weak bones are a factor. Use common sense: For example, it’s OK to feel sore as you begin a new exercise program. But soreness should not equal pain. If the soreness doesn’t go away after a few days, talk with your doctor. Learn when to modify certain movements and exercises: Some yoga and Pilates movements, for instance, might be risky with this disease. Talk about such movements with a doctor or physical therapist before trying them. You can modify almost any exercise. Avoid exercises that could cause fractures: Don’t do twisting exercises, such as a golf swing. A movement like that increases the chance of a spine fracture. The same is true of sit-ups. If you have questions about any exercise, talk with your doctor or physical therapist.