Exercise is an important part of managing your osteoporosis. But you’ll want to avoid exercises that put stress on your spine like sit-ups, golf, or tennis, and activities with too much running, jumping, or a high risk of falling.

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Experts estimate that 10.2 million people over the age of 50 in the United States have osteoporosis. This works out to be about 1 in 5 women and 1 in 25 men in this age group.

Regular exercise is important for preventing and managing osteoporosis. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as stair climbing and strength training, can help increase bone density and decrease your risk of fracture.

Despite the benefits of regular exercise, certain activities may put you at an increased risk of fractures if you already have low bone density. You may want to avoid these activities or consult your doctor to see if they’re safe for you.

In this article, we look at four types of exercises that may put you at an increased risk of breaking a bone if you have osteoporosis.

You can also read about exercises that may be beneficial for people with osteoporosis.

Osteoporotic fractures most often occur in the spine. Fractures here are about twice as common as in other areas, such as your hips and wrists.

Exercises that involve twisting or bending at the waist put stress on your lower spine and can increase your risk of fracture if your bones are already weak. Your lower spine is the most common location for fracture.

Sit-ups and variations

Sit-ups and sit-up variations that involve spinal flexion may put you at risk of injury. Spinal flexion means bending your spine forward.

In a 2018 review of studies, researchers found evidence that exercises with repeated spinal flexion are associated with back pain and fracture in people with osteoporosis.

They also found evidence that horseback riding and golfing may increase your risk of fracture. But the level of evidence for these activities was low since researchers reviewed only one study for each.

Golf and tennis

Golf and tennis swings both involve rotation through your trunk at high speeds. This fast, twisting motion may put you at risk of a spinal fracture. Both sports may also increase your risk of wrist injuries, which are common among people with osteoporosis.

Research suggests that golfers generally are at particular risk of wrist and lower back injuries.

In a 2021 study, researchers found that fractures made up 12% of tennis injuries in a group of 449 recreational tennis players.

Some yoga and stretching positions

Yoga can be beneficial for people with osteoporosis, but certain positions may put your spine under stress. It’s a good idea to avoid positions that put your spine into a rounded position or that involve a large amount of twisting.

Lifting heavy objects can put stress on your lower spine, especially if you have poor lifting form. Many people round their backs when lifting objects from the floor instead of lifting with their legs. This stress on your back may put you at risk of a spinal fracture.

In a 2022 study, a panel of osteoporosis experts in the United Kingdom recommended the following for day-to-day lifting:

  • Keep your upper body and neck straight for any movements involving bending or lifting.
  • Always move in a controlled and smooth way within a comfortable range of motion.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles during movement.

Activities that involve running and jumping put a large amount of force on your bones and joints when your feet hit the ground.


It’s a good idea to consult your doctor or another expert, such as your physiotherapist, before starting jogging or running. Your doctor might tell you that jogging is OK, but they may recommend against it if you have advanced osteoarthritis.

The ground reaction forces while running can be more than twice your body weight. That means you’re effectively supporting more than twice your body weight on one foot when you make contact with the ground. Forces at the bottom of your shin bone can exceed 6 to 14 times your body weight.


Forces on your body can be very high when you land from any type of jumping motion. Even landing from a height of about 10 centimeters (4 inches) can cause a ground reaction force higher than four times your body weight.

You may want to consider avoiding any activities that involve jumping unless your doctor says it’s OK.

People with osteoporosis are at an increased risk of falling due to factors, such as:

  • muscle weakness
  • spinal curve abnormality
  • poor posture

They’re also at an increased risk of fractures when they fall due to decreased bone density.

Skiing and snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding have a high risk of injury. In a 2022 study, researchers found that the most frequent vertebra fracture location was in the lower back for snowboarders and skiers.

Horseback riding

Horseback riding has a high risk of falling, which may put you at risk of fracture. Repeated vibrations from riding may also increase your risk of fracture. In a 2018 review of studies, researchers suggested that less skilled riders sit more stiffly than experienced riders and don’t absorb the movement of the horse as well.

Contact sports

Contact sports come with a high risk of injury for people with osteoporosis. These might include:

  • hockey
  • skating
  • rugby
  • soccer
  • American football

Regular exercise is an important part of preventing and managing osteoporosis. But if you already have low bone density, certain activities may increase your risk of injury.

In general, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor or another medical expert before performing activities like jumping, golf, or tennis that put sudden force on your bones and joints. If you’re not sure if an activity is safe for you, it’s always best to talk with a doctor.

Taking safety precautions with osteoporosis can help you stay injury-free and maintain a high quality of life. Learn more about safety considerations for osteoporosis.