Exercise plays an important role in maintaining bone health. Research has demonstrated that when it comes to our bones not all exercise is equal. Bones benefit when a certain amount of impact or strain is placed on them making specific types of exercise most beneficial.

The ability of an exercise to have an impact on bone depends on the specific way that stress is applied to the bone during the exercise. Exercise is also important for the size, strength and capacity of our muscles which is essential to maintain mobility. Exercise must be ongoing to have a proper benefit.

Exercise goals throughout life

Exercise goals for bone health change over time from

Building maximum bone strength in childhood and adolescence
Maintaining muscle and bone strength in adulthood
Reducing bone loss in older age and maintaining muscle strength to support mobility and balance

Specific types of exercise to support bone health

Weight bearing impact loading exercise

What is it? Exercise done on your feet so you bear your own weight which jolts bones rapidly and firmly. Examples include: jogging, skipping, basketball, netball, tennis, dancing, impact aerobics, stair walking.

Resistance training

What is it? Using hand and ankle weights and gym equipment such as training with weights which progress in intensity over time.

Healthy Bones Australia Exercise Guide

This guide is based on guidelines published by Exercise and Sports Science Australia and is a general guide to appropriate exercise for supporting your bone health. This can be shared with a personal trainer as required. Note – exercise should be conducted within your capacity and supervised exercise is recommended for people with diagnosed osteoporosis.

View Exercise Guide

Supervised Exercise Program

Healthy Bones Australia has aligned with an accredited exercise program called ONERO. This approach to training is based on research studies conducted in women and men with osteoporosis.

Please note: exercise professionals become ONERO Accredited Practitioners by completing the ONERO Academy program and are certified to deliver ONERO training to members of the public. The ONERO Academy program is accredited by Exercise and Sport Science Australia. The ONERO Academy program was developed by Professor Belinda Beck of Griffith University.

Balance exercises and preventing falls

In older Australians balance and mobility exercises can help reduce falls which often lead to fractures. Half of all falls occur around the home and approximately a third of people over 65 fall each year. Preventing falls is important for bone health to help prevent fractures.

Tips for Preventing Falls

Falls are most commonly caused by

  • Poor muscle strength
  • Factors impacting balance eg: low blood pressure, inner ear problems, drowsiness/dizziness caused by certain medicines, poor nutrition
  • Poor vision
  • Home hazards that cause tripping

Extensive research has been conducted into the best ways to address these issues and avoid falls. Review strategies to avoid falls.

Balance exercises

  • Standing still exercises e.g: standing on one leg, standing tall raising arms, put one foot in front of the other and hold, tai chi
  • Moving exercises e.g: walking in small circles, walking with sudden change of direction, stepping over obstacles, walking on toes, walking with arms raised above the head, walking sideways and backwards, line dancing
  • Dual task exercises e.g: standing on one leg while throwing and catching a ball
See General Balance Training section of Exercise Flyer