Posted on 15 May 2023

5 of the best (and worst) bone health exercises

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining good bone health. We should all try for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, says the NHS. Are you?

The benefits of exercise are well known. Regular exercise can help to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures. But some types of exercise can be risky for those with bone health problems like osteoporosis.

So, what can you do? Here we provide details on 5 of the best and worst exercises for people who want to build stronger bones.

5 of the best exercises for stronger bones

Weight-bearing exercises are considered by experts to be the best for bone health. The impact on bones can have a positive impact on building bone density and increasing strength. It’s because these exercises involve supporting your own body weight through your bones and muscles.

Here are 5 safe exercises for building stronger bones and improving bone health.

  1. Walking: Walking is a low-impact weight-bearing exercise. You can walk anywhere and at any time. In fact, you may be walking now (if you are, be sure to look where you’re going). While we all walk, those who want to build stronger bones should up the pace. How much is enough? Everyone should  walk for 30 minutes (or more) each day at a brisk pace.
  2. Gently jogging: Walking is excellent, but jogging is better.Running faster than walking pace can increase the stress on the bones, promoting bone density. Obviously, jogging is higher intensity, so start with a slow jog or run and gradually increase your speed and distance. The NHS Couch to 5K is a great place to start, and be sure to speak to your doctor before starting.
  3. Jumping: you may not have skipped and jumped for years, but it’s excellent for your bones! Aerobics classes (online and in-person) are a great way to get your body moving up and down and improve your bone health.
  4. Strength training: It may sound strange, but lifting weights or performing exercises like push-ups or squats can help to strengthen bones. Again, be gentle with your body and start slowly as you build your strength.
  5. Yoga and Pilates: They’re not exercise, but yoga and Pilates are excellent ways to build strength and healthy bones. They’re based on exercises that focus on improving balance, flexibility, and muscle strength. This can   reduce the risk of falls and fractures. Avoid spine-twisting activities if you have bone health problems.

5 exercises to avoid if you have bone health problems

Exercising is essential for building stronger bones, but there are some exercises you should avoid. If you have bone health problems such as osteoporosis or low bone density, certain types of exercise can be risky. Doing them could increase your risk of fractures.

Here are 5 exercises you should avoid if you’re worried about your bone health.

  1. High-impact exercises: Exercises that involve jumping, running, or other high-impact movements can increase your risk of fractures. If you have bone health problems, it’s best to avoid anything that can increase the risk of damage.
  2. Spine-twisting exercises: Exercises that involve twisting or bending your spine can also increase your risk of spinal fractures. Avoid activities such as sit-ups, crunches, or yoga poses that involve excessive twisting, as these can damage your bone health.
  3. Heavy lifting: If you have osteoporosis or low bone density, lifting heavy weights can increase your risk of fractures. Instead, you should use light weights or resistance bands.
  4. Forward-bending exercises: Exercises that involve bending forward at the waist, such as toe touches, can increase your risk of vertebral fractures. These are a bad idea if you’re worried about your bone health.
  5. High-risk sports: Contact sports, such as football or hockey, or sports that involve a high risk of falls, such as skiing or snowboarding, can increase your risk of fractures. The best idea is to hang up your hockey stick, put away the football boots, and store the skis.

Great sources of bone health information

We provide information on bone health issues, including the best bone health supplements and vitamins. Here are some of our favourite websites packed full of bone health information and advice from the web.

  1. National Osteoporosis Society: The National Osteoporosis Society is a UK-based organisation that offers comprehensive resources for individuals with osteoporosis or those looking to improve their bone health. They provide exercise guidelines, videos, and other valuable information. Visit their website at
  2. NHS Choices: The National Health Service (NHS) website provides reliable information on various health topics, including bone health and exercises for stronger bones. They offer exercise recommendations and tips for maintaining healthy bones. Visit their website at
  3. Royal Osteoporosis Society: The Royal Osteoporosis Society (formerly known as the National Osteoporosis Society) focuses on providing support and information for people with osteoporosis. They offer exercise advice and resources to help improve bone health. Visit their website at
  4. Arthritis Research UK: Although primarily focused on arthritis, the Arthritis Research UK website also provides helpful information on exercise for bone health. They offer guidance on exercises that are beneficial for both arthritis and bone strength. Visit their website at
  5. British Orthopaedic Association: The British Orthopaedic Association provides information on orthopaedic conditions, including bone health. While their resources focus more on medical conditions, they may offer valuable insights into exercise and rehabilitation for stronger bones. Visit their website at

How to build stronger bones

Regular exercise is vital for maintaining good bone health, but choosing the right exercises is important. Try to avoid any activity that could damage your bones.

Before starting any new exercise programme, book a chat with a healthcare professional. It’s particularly important for those who have bone health issues, such as osteoporosis, that could increase the risk of fractures.

At Stronger Bones, we’re on a mission to improve the UK’s bone health. We want to build a community of people who are proactive about protecting their bones and preventing osteoporosis.

Join our community

We’re creating a community committed to building stronger bones, would you like to join?

Sign-up to receive the latest information, offers, and advice from Stronger Bones.

Stronger Bones boxes