This NativePath content is medically reviewed or fact-checked to ensure factually accurate information.
With strict editorial sourcing guidelines, we only link to academic research institutions, reputable media sites, and, when research is available, medically peer-reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) are clickable links to these studies.
The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace that of a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice.
June 21, 2022
Try These 5 Daily Exercises to Help Improve Bone Health
For children and young adults, a broken bone is an inconvenience.
But for senior men and women, a bone fracture is proven to be a much more serious problem, even increasing mortality risk by up to 25% (1).
Many believe this is due to a higher risk of developing blood clots, heart disease, diabetes, or pneumonia while immobilized (2, 3).
Plus, aging bones take WAY longer to fully heal—just one broken bone can lead to years of painful and frustrating recovery (4).
Unfortunately, weakened and atrophied muscles contribute to thousands of falls and fractures per year (5). These unexpected injuries happen while doing simple tasks like getting dressed, walking up and down stairs, or putting groceries away.
“The good news,” says Dr. Chad Walding, a Doctor of Physical Therapy for over 10 years and a Senior Nutrition Expert, “is that there are 5 simple exercises you can do without leaving your home that help you strengthen the muscles necessary to improve your balance and prevent dangerous injuries.”
You Can Prevent Fractures with 5 Simple Exercises
Certain types of exercise are a powerful protector against declining bone strength (6)...
Working out strengthens your muscles. (You need strong muscles to support your bones and your balance—both of which help prevent falls and dangerous fractures.) And resistance exercise is especially powerful for protecting your bones.
Dr. Chad walked through five powerful bone-strengthening exercises with his 71-year-old mother at her home and has now put them together here to share with you.
Beyond this, there is also one food his mom eats every morning without fail…that he suggests for all seniors concerned with bone health and the possibility of fractures.
First, a tip for all five of these exercises: Make sure to breathe steadily throughout.
This keeps your blood pressure steady and allows you to stay relaxed but controlled throughout the entirety of your balance workout (7).
Your Daily Balance Workout for Bone Health
Do the five following at-home exercises each day to mitigate your risk of fracture-related injuries...
1. The Basic Bicycle
A strong core is the foundation of strong balance (8). Many people mistake the core as simply being their abdomen, but it also includes the muscles in your spine, sides of your body, pelvis, and buttocks.
Dr. Chad says this move is the best core exercise he’s taught his 71-year-old mom. It’s super simple, requires no equipment, and allows you to improve core strength without compromising your joints or the arch of your back.
To start, lay flat on your back on a firm mattress, yoga mat on the floor, or massage table if you have one (you can get great ones online for a good price).
Bend your knees so that the bottoms of your feet are lying flat on the ground. Make a fist with your hands, and lift your arms straight up above you.
Keeping your lower back flat, engage your abdominal muscles, and pull your knees up to a 90-degree angle.
Extend your legs out straight one at a time (2 to 3 seconds out, 2 to 3 seconds in), keeping your arms straight above you the entire time.
This is a foundational core exercise every woman over 50 should do for at least 5 to 10 minutes each day.
2. The Bridge Exercise
Weak glute muscles contribute to a lack of balance, strained hips, and lower back pain.
This exercise strengthens your glutes, lower back, and hamstrings. This will then help with balance, mobility, lower back, and nerve pain (9).
Continue lying on a firm, flat surface.
Start with knees bent and feet flat, spread slightly wider than your hips.
Imagine a bowl of soup balancing just below your belly button. Tip that bowl of soup towards you, and then back to neutral. Do this 10x to warm up your pelvic muscles.
After you feel comfortable with that, continue “tipping” the bowl and squeeze your glutes tight, making a straight line from your knees to your chest.
Then starting with your chest, lay each section of your back down slowly, finally releasing your pelvic area back to neutral again. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
3. Modified At-Home Hip Abduction
Stabilizing your pelvis keeps aging hips aligned and gives you a stronger foundation for balance and movement (10). This move activates muscles that are weak and atrophied in your hip which causes your knees to buckle. It also improves blood circulation in your hips.
For this exercise, you will need a chair with a back and a resistance band or Theraband.
Sit nice and tall in the chair and wrap the band around your legs, right above your knees. Tie it in a simple double knot, making sure it holds tight.
Lay your feet flat, just slightly separated. Keeping your feet firmly planted in place on the floor, spread your knees out as far as you can, hold there for 3 seconds, and then count to 3 as you slowly bring them back in.
Do 10 to 15 reps all the way out, hold for 2 to 3 seconds, and then come back in slow. Tension is important. Don’t go fast.
4. Slouch Overcorrector
Your posture is incredibly important for balance, but unfortunately, most seniors do not practice good posture (11). If you have sciatic nerve pain, tingling in your feet, or acute back pain, this exercise is for you.
Sitting on the edge of a stable chair, lay your feet flat.
Slightly slouch and round your back. Next, imagine a string pulling straight up through your chest, over correcting the slouch to tuck your lower back in and work the muscles in your back.
You want your low back to be going the opposite direction of a slouch and then relaxing back.
This helps to rehydrate the discs in your back and loosen restrictions in your spinal joints. It also relieves pressure on your sciatic nerve, the large nerve that goes from your lower back down to your feet.
5. Shoulder Scrunch
This final exercise releases tension, strengthens your spine, and improves head-to-toe balance. When your neck and shoulder muscles are tense and weak, this affects your mobility and can cause falls while doing simple things like getting in and out of the car, getting dressed, or putting away groceries.
Start in a sitting position sitting tall on the edge of your seat with feet flat.
Bring your shoulders up to your ears and hold for 5 seconds.
Next, pinch your shoulder blades behind you and squeeze for 5 seconds.
And again: Up, pinch, relax. Do this sequence 5x.
“In addition to adding these essential exercises into your daily routine,” says Dr. Chad, “there is ONE food I believe all older adults need to eat every day…just like my mom does.”
The Connection between Collagen and Bone Health
Science agrees, while improving muscle strength and balance will certainly help protect healthier bones…
There is one stand-out dietary habit that researchers believe yields the greatest impact on our ability to rebuild and strengthen bone tissue—and that is collagen protein. Make sure you’re taking the best collagen for bone health.
“The number one food I recommend for patients with brittle or fractured bones to eat more of is actually the main protein found within bones,” says Dr. Chad Walding.
Collagen and bone health have a strong connection. Collagen is one of the most plentiful proteins in mammals. It’s responsible for several biological functions—one of which is to provide structural support in connective tissues like muscles, joints, skin, hair, nails, teeth and you guessed it—bones (12, 13).
In fact, approximately 90% of the bone matrix is comprised of collagen protein (14). So supplementing daily with collagen for joints and bone health is a great way to boost the benefits of your workout.
The Bottom Line
The older you get, the higher your risk of dangerous bone fractures that can impact your overall health and mobility. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent this!
Complete the five daily exercises above to ensure your body is getting the resistance exercise it needs most for bone health, and make NativePath Collagen a part of your daily routine. You can mix it into your morning coffee, smoothie, soup, or even bake with it. With these two steps accomplished each day, you’re giving your bones the care they need to stay as strong and healthy as possible.
As a Research Writer at NativePath, Krista’s main goal is to ensure you have the most current information possible to improve your health & wellness. When she’s not writing, she’s busy being the favorite aunt of 6 nieces and nephews, spoiling her two dogs, and discovering new places to visit around the world.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.