Feature Article

Exercise and osteoporotic fracture prevention. Part 2: prescribing exercise

Maria A Fiatarone Singh



Rapid, short bursts of progressive high impact or high intensity resistance exercise have been shown to improve the major primary risk factors for osteoporotic fracture in middle-aged and older adults more effectively than other forms of exercise.

Key Points

  • The most important elements of the exercise prescription for bone health are high intensity progressive weight lifting exercise and progressively more difficult balance training, with the addition of high impact exercise (such as jumping) when feasible.
  • The most economical prescription with the broadest benefits for body composition and bone health as well as neuromuscular function is progressive resistance training as the primary exercise modality.
  • Continuous progression of weight moved, balance exercise difficulty and jump height is the most critical element of the exercise prescription for bone health; if progression stops, so does adaptation in the bone and muscle.
  • Given the short time (several minutes per day) that is necessary for effective high impact exercise or balance training, incorporating such episodes into daily activities may be more successful than planning structured exercise classes away from home.