New Exercise Statement Released


Exercise Prescription to Support the Management of Osteoporosis for Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists

Healthy Bones Australia (HBA) has released a new exercise statement for physiotherapists and exercise physiologists. The statement was developed by an expert Working Group and Advisory Committee and following a National Forum hosted in 2023 to review latest evidence and key recommendations for Australia.

Prescribed exercise is often underutilised for people with low bone mass and osteoporosis due to concerns about risk of injuries. However, the new statement stresses the importance of tailored exercise in supporting the management of osteoporosis. A targeted approach to exercise has been used successfully for people with osteoporosis in a wide range of ages and levels of severity. 

“Just any old exercise prescription won’t do for bone. I was delighted to lead experts and consumers from around Australia to develop this practical document to support physiotherapists and exercise physiologists working to improve the lives of people at risk of osteoporotic fracture through exercise” said Professor Belinda Beck.

The statement outlines the benefits of an individual program, based on recommended combinations of exercise, which takes into consideration other conditions, any physical limitations, and a baseline capacity for exercise. Physiotherapists and exercise physiologists can develop programs to support people living with osteoporosis and ensure an optimal approach to exercise.

Research has shown that there are specific types and intensities of exercise that can improve bone mass and strength, and high challenge balance training is required to prevent falls.

Greg Lyubomirsky, CEO of Healthy Bones Australia said, “the release of this exercise statement is timely to give health professionals greater clarity on what is recommended to protect bone health in consumers with osteoporosis and low bone density.”

The new statement will be shared nationally with physiotherapists and exercise physiologists and includes:

·        summary of the principles of osteogenic loading and fall prevention

·        translation of those principles into clinical practice

·        evidence-based recommendations for exercise prescription, and special considerations

·        links to several relevant resources for people with or at risk of osteoporosis, falls and fractures.

Dr Weiwen Chen, specialist endocrinologist and member of the working group, said “It is important for GPs and specialists to involve physiotherapists and exercise physiologists in prescribed exercise to help support patients with osteoporosis and low bone density.”