Exercise and Osteoporosis

Exercise or general physical activity, particularly weight-bearing, is important to build bone mass. The stresses of exercise and physical activity on the bone help strengthen the bone tissue and significantly increase the bone mass. Individuals who are not physically active lose bone mass rapidly, e.g. when people are sick and in bed. Individuals with CF should do weight-bearing exercise on a regular basis in order to improve their bone mineral density.

Weight-bearing Exercises
These exercises include activities that make you move against gravity while staying upright. Weight-bearing exercises can be high-impact or low-impact. Both high-impact and low-impact weight-bearing exercises help build bones and keep them strong.
Some examples of high-impact weight-bearing exercises:
• Dancing
• High-impact aerobics
• Hiking
• Jogging/running
• Jumping rope
• Stair climbing
• Tennis
• Plyometric exercise
If you have broken a bone, are at risk for breaking a bone or have back pain, you may need to avoid high-impact exercises.

Low-impact weight-bearing exercises are safer for people who cannot do high-impact exercises. Some examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercises include:
• Cross-trainer or elliptical training machines
• Low-impact aerobics
• Stair-step machines
• Brisk walking on a treadmill or outside
Other exercises that may also benefit you are:
• Posture exercises - help decrease the chance of breaking a bone, especially in the spine

Make sure you modify your exercises, as needed, to avoid bending forward and twisting the spine, e.g. in certain yoga and Pilates positions. Bending forward and twisting the spine may increase the risk of breaking a bone in the spine, especially if you have osteoporosis.

Note that non-weight-bearing, non-impact exercises e.g. bicycling/indoor cycling, deep-water walking, stretching exercises, swimming and water aerobics, can be part of a well-rounded exercise program, but do not benefit the bones. If you like these activities, try to add in other exercises that are good for your bone health.

If you have any questions about which exercises are suitable, contact your doctor and physiotherapist. Your physiotherapist will be able to advise and teach you exercises that are safe and appropriate for you.