8 Best Exercises for Strengthening For Bones Seniors

exercises for seniors
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Not all exercises are good for bone health, but weight-bearing exercises are.

These exercises challenge your muscles against gravity and put pressure on your bones, encouraging your body to build stronger bones.

Walking and swimming are great for heart and lung health but don’t help much with bone strength.

If you are a senior with osteoporosis and want to strengthen your bones, try these eight simple exercises you can do at home.

1. Shoulder Lifts

Shoulder Lifts

For this exercise, you’ll need weights or a resistance band. You can do it standing or seated.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand or step on a resistance band while holding an end in each hand.
  2. Start with your arms down and hands at your sides.
  3. Slowly raise your arms straight in front of you, but don’t lock your elbows.
  4. Lift to a comfortable height, no higher than shoulder level.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times. Rest and repeat for a second set if possible.

2. Hip Leg Lifts

Hip Leg Lifts

This exercise strengthens the muscles around your hips and improves balance. Use a sturdy piece of furniture for support if needed.

  1. Start with your feet hip-width apart and shift your weight to your left foot.
  2. Flex your right foot and keep your right leg straight as you lift it to the side, no more than 6 inches off the ground.
  3. Lower your right leg.
  4. Repeat the leg lift 8 to 12 times. Then switch to your left leg and do another set.

3. Ball Sit

Ball Sit

This exercise promotes balance and strengthens your abdominal muscles. Use a large exercise ball and have someone nearby to help you maintain balance.

  1. Sit on the exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keep your back as straight as possible while maintaining your balance.
  3. If you can, hold your arms out at your sides with palms facing forward.
  4. Hold the position for up to one minute, if possible. Stand and rest. Repeat the exercise up to two more times.

4. Standing on One Leg

Standing on One Leg

This exercise will give you better balance.

  1. Stand near a sturdy piece of furniture for support if needed.
  2. Stand on one foot for up to one minute, if possible.
  3. Repeat the exercise on your other leg.

5. Squats

Squats

Squats strengthen the front of your legs and buttocks. You don’t need to squat deeply for this exercise to be effective.

  1. Start with your feet hip-width apart. Rest your hands lightly on a sturdy piece of furniture or counter for balance.
  2. Bend at your knees to slowly squat down, keeping your back straight and leaning slightly forward. Feel your legs working.
  3. Squat only until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Tighten your buttocks to return to a standing position.
  5. Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times.

6. Foot Stomps

Foot Stomps

This exercise helps strengthen the hips, which are commonly affected by osteoporosis.

  1. While standing, stomp your foot as if crushing an imaginary can beneath it.
  2. Repeat four times on one foot, then switch to the other foot and repeat.
  3. Hold on to a railing or sturdy piece of furniture if you have difficulty maintaining your balance.

7. Bicep Curls

Bicep curls can be done with dumbbells (1 to 5 pounds) or a resistance band. You can do them seated or standing.

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand or step on a resistance band while holding an end in each hand.
  2. Pull the weights or bands toward your chest, contracting the bicep muscles on the front of your upper arms.
  3. Lower your arms back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times. Rest and repeat for a second set if possible.

8. Hamstring Curls

Hamstring Curls

Hamstring curls strengthen the muscles in the backs of your upper legs. Perform this exercise from a standing position and use a sturdy piece of furniture for balance if needed.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Move your left foot back slightly until only your toes are touching the floor.
  3. Contract the muscles in the back of your left leg to lift your left heel toward your buttocks.
  4. Slowly lower your left foot back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 8 to 12 times. Rest, then repeat the exercise on your right leg.

What Should You Avoid?

It’s important to know which exercises to avoid if you have osteoporosis.

High-impact activities like hiking, jumping rope, climbing, and running put too much demand on your bones and increase the risk of fractures.

These exercises strain your spine and hips and raise your risk of falls, so it’s best to avoid them unless you’re experienced.

Exercises that involve bending forward or rotating your trunk, such as sit-ups and playing golf, also increase your risk of osteoporosis fractures.

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