Top Exercises and Diet for Patients With Osteoporosis

Aditi Shenai

January 27, 2023

It is rather fascinating to look at our body and its highly complex yet organized constituents, from a microscopic level. Be it the rhythmic functioning of the heart or the control over the body exhibited by the brain, it is truly a marvel of nature. However, our body needs a lot of maintenance and nurturing.

Bones are living tissues that make up the skeletal structure of a body and are most often neglected unless you injure one. Osteoporosis is a bone-related condition or a skeletal disorder. Its name is derived from the Latin phrase ‘porous bones’, which means penetrable. Just like a honeycomb, the inside of a healthy bone has minute holes serving as a passage to blood vessels and nerves. Osteoporosis expands these spaces, causing the bone to lose strength and density which causes the outside of the bone to weaken and thin. 

People with osteoporosis are at a high risk of fractures. The ribs, hips, and bones in the wrists and spine are the most commonly affected bones. So, if you suffer from osteoporosis or want to protect yourself from this health condition, it’s never too late to start a bone-healthy practice. By adhering to a healthy diet and engaging in physical activities. This article will serve as a comprehensive guide to osteoporosis diet and do-it-yourself exercises.


Osteoporosis has no symptoms or warning signs in its early stages. Most osteoporosis sufferers are unaware of their condition until they suffer a fracture.

Some of the earlier symptoms may include:

  • Shrinking gums
  • Weakened grip capacity 
  • Weak or brittle nails 

Note: Speaking with your doctor can assist you in determining your risk if you don’t have any symptoms but have a family history of osteoporosis.

Key Nutrients to Focus on

When you have osteoporosis, your body needs a number of essential nutrients to build your bones as strong as possible. Prior to developing your diet plan, you must always understand the types of nutrients that your body actually requires and also the foods to stay away from.


This mineral is an important component of bone tissue and helps maintain bone strength. Adults require at least 1000 milligrams of calcium a day. Dairy products, tofu, some fish and dark leafy greens are ideal sources of calcium. 

Vitamin D

This vitamin is one of the important companions for calcium in your body as it promotes calcium absorption by the cells in your bones. Your body can naturally produce Vit D when exposed to sunlight but supplementation and eating vit D rich foods such as eggs and fish are also essential.


To keep your tissues healthy, including your muscles and bones, you need protein. As per research, a higher risk of hip fracture is linked to low protein intake. Consuming between 0.8 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is beneficial for your body and bones. Legumes , nuts, lentils, eggs, dairy products and lean meats are the best sources of dietary protein

Vitamin C

According to study, vitamin C has been shown to be beneficial in improving bone metabolism and thus eating more fruits and vegetables can help in preventing osteoporosis.

Vitamin K 

Studies claim Vitamin K appears to play a great role in osteoporosis. Good dietary intake of Vit K has been associated with lower occurrence of fractures. Green leafy veggies and fortified foods are the main sources of this vitamin. 


Zinc is used by the body to keep the bones strong. It is known as an essential factor in the growth of humans and its deficiency can lead to bone retardation. This research talks about the  intake of dietary zinc improves bone mass. Beans, nuts, shellfish and fortified foods are rich in zinc.

Food to Include In Your Diet

1. Oils

Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in oily fish. Because polyunsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory properties, they may be beneficial to people suffering from osteoarthritis. Chia seeds, flaxseed oil, and walnuts are also good sources of omega-3.

Extra virgin olive oil contains a high concentration of oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory properties similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Avocado and safflower oils are both nutritious and may help lower cholesterol.

2 . Dairy

Calcium and vitamin D are abundant in milk, yoghurt, and cheese. These nutrients strengthen bones, which may alleviate painful symptoms. Dairy also contains proteins that can aid in muscle building.

3. Dark green leafy vegetables

Dark leafy greens are high in vitamin D as well as anti-stress phytochemicals and antioxidants.

4. Broccoli 

Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound that researchers believe may slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

This vegetable is also high in vitamins K and C, as well as calcium, which helps to strengthen bones. 

5. Nuts

Nuts are heart-healthy because they are high in calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and fibre. They also contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which aids in immune system function.

6. Green tea 

Polyphenols are antioxidants that may be able to reduce inflammation and slow the rate of cartilage damage, according to experts. Polyphenols are abundant in green tea.

 7. garlic cloves

Scientists believe that a compound found in garlic called diallyl disulfide may work against the enzymes in the body that damage cartilage.

Foods to avoid or limit

Foods high in salt

Excess salt intake can cause your body to release calcium, which is bad for your bones. Hence, consuming sodium-rich foods should be avoided (those that contain more than 20 percent of the daily recommended value for sodium.) Limit your daily intake to no more than 2,300 mg. When possible, use a reliable source.


Moderate or no alcohol consumption is safe for people with osteoporosis. Furthermore, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to bone loss. 


Caffeine has been linked to decreased calcium absorption and bone loss. Coffee, tea, sodas, and energy drinks all contain varying amounts of caffeine, so consume them in moderation.

Now that you know what nutrients are important for osteoporosis, here’s a 7-day plan to follow. Always consult your doctor before starting a new meal plan to ensure it does not conflict with any medications or health conditions you may be taking.

Sample Osteoporosis Diet Plan


  • 1 cup of oatmeal made with oats milk and topped with nuts OR 1 mushroom spinach omelette with a multigrain toast.

Morning Snack

  • 1 apple with 10 cashews OR 1 small bowl of mixed fruits topped with sunflower seeds


  • 2 rotis with spinach dal and a carrot salad OR 1 bowl chicken quinoa vegetable salad 

Evening Snack

  • ½ cup greek yogurt with fruits and nuts OR 1 cup roasted makhana and channa OR 1 glass berry yogurt smoothie without sugar


  • 1 roti with chicken curry and salad OR 1 roti with dal and sabji OR grilled chicken and veggies with a baked potato

Exercises for Osteoporosis

You may be concerned that being active increases your chances of falling and breaking a bone. However, the opposite is true. A regular, well-designed exercise program or a few do-it-yourself exercises like those mentioned aid in the prevention of falls and fractures. This is due to the fact that exercise strengthens bones and muscles, while also improving your balance, coordination, and flexibility. This is critical for people suffering from osteoporosis.


Jogging or fast-paced aerobics will strengthen bones more than slower movements. However, keep in mind that only the bones that are subjected to the strain of the exercise will benefit. Jogging, for example, protects only the bones in your lower body, including your hips.  

Jumping rope 

Rope jumping improves bone mineral density. As you get older, having more bone mineral density makes you less likely to break a bone or develop osteoporosis.

Step aerobics 

Step aerobics can help your bones, as well as your overall health, by boosting your muscle strength, coordination, and balance.


As you know already! Regular exercise boosts bone mass and slows the aging degenerative process. Tennis in particular is excellent for increasing bone strength and mass because it is a weight-bearing exercise that makes use of gravity and your body weight.


Gardening is the ideal balance, especially for those who are most at risk of osteoporosis. It provides you with a workout that not only strengthens your bones but is also simple enough for people of all ages.

Climbing stairs 

Stair climbing requires you to resist gravity and rise vertically. This motion pattern generates a significant body weight load to improve bone density. 


Dancing and gymnastics are highly osteogenic, which means they have a high capacity for bone mass formation, which is an effective factor in avoiding osteoporosis. 

Hiking/ Walking

Hiking and walking can help boost bone density and slow calcium loss. This strengthens the bones and reduces their likelihood of breaking. According to a few studies, women with osteoporosis who walked or hiked for one hour three days a week increased their bone density in their spine and other body areas by 6% over nine months.


Almost everyone with osteoporosis can benefit from exercise. However, keep in mind that it is only one component of a comprehensive treatment plan. Consume plenty of calcium and vitamin D, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. You may also require osteoporosis medications to increase or maintain bone density. Consult your doctor to determine the most effective ways to stay healthy and strong. 

About the Author

M.Sc in: Dietetics and Applied Nutrition from Manipal University. Worked: All over India and have been involved in helping set up nutrition departments in start ups. Interested in lifestyle based nutrition. Mantra: A healthy lifestyle isn't a choice to be made or discarded, it's a way of life!

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