Tips for Getting Started

osteoporosis_guidelines_physical_activity_thbIf you are not accustomed to exercise, talk to a doctor, physical therapist or a certified kinesiologist before starting any type of exercise program. Consider consulting with a physical therapist or certified kinesiologist, if needed, about specific exercises you should do and others you may need to avoid. To find physical therapists or certified kinesiologists trained in working with people with osteoporosis, search using the Bone Fit ™ Trained Professional Locator: If you are interested in going to an exercise class, you can even look up whether fitness instructors near you have training.

Next, use the table below as a guide to identify the types of exercise you may perform, how often you should do them (frequency) and how hard you should work (intensity). Consider your current level of ability, your fracture risk (low, moderate, or high) and your overall health. Start at a level that is safe for you and progressively increase the difficulty of the exercises over time.



Type of exercise

How often should I exercise? (Frequency)

How hard should I work?

For how long should I exercise?

What are the benefits of this type of exercise?

Strength training:

Free weights, machines, exercise bands or body weight as resistance

At least 2 days of the week

If you can do more than 12 repetitions, the resistance is too easy. If you can’t do at least 8 reps, the resistance is too hard.

Two sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise. Include all major muscle groups


Improved muscle and bone strength, and mobility

Balance training:

Tai chi, dancing, other exercises designed to challenge balance

Every day. You can incorporate balance training with weight bearing and/or strength training exercise to save time.

Beginners: “standing still” exercises (standing in one spot holding a posture)

Advanced: dynamic exercises (challenge balance while moving around) May need guidance.

15-20 minutes each day, or 120 minutes per week. Can be all at once, in short bouts throughout the day, or built into daily activities.

Improved mobility and balance. Fewer falls.

Weight bearing aerobic physical activity:
walking, dancing, jogging, stair climbing, step aerobics, running

Most days of the week.

Moderate or vigorous intensity, 5-8 on a 0-10 scale.

Moderate intensity: you’ll sweat a little and breathe harder.

Vigorous intensity: you’ll sweat and are breathing hard – you couldn’t say more than a few words without stopping to catch your breath.

20-30 minutes or more per day, for at least 10 minutes at a time. Accumulate 150 minutes or more per week.

Improved heart health and bone strength.

Reduced fracture risk.

Posture training:
safe movements, awareness of position and posture (and back muscle strengthening)

Practice proper position and good posture every day!

Be conscious of posture. Perform exercises targeting the muscles that extend your spine. Use mirrors when exercising.

Attention to posture during daily activities, as well as 5-10 minutes daily of exercises to improve posture.

Less pressure on the spine. Reduced risk of falls and fractures, especially spine fractures.

For more information, contact Osteoporosis Canada at 1-800-463-6842 and ask for the booklet Too Fit to Fracture.

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