A healthy diet, weight-bearing exercises and supplements can help build better bones.

Better Bone Health

You can reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis by maintaining good bone health.
To do this, you need a three-pronged approach which focuses on:

When deciding on a comprehensive treatment plan for osteoporosis, your doctor will also take into account future fracture risks based on your age, gender, family history, and lifestyle, as well as the severity of the condition.

How to enjoy better bone health

  • Include healthy amounts of Calcium into your diet

    Low-fat dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream are good sources of Calcium. Adding dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, collard greens, bok choy and spinach to your diet will be beneficial, as these are all high in Calcium. Sardines and salmon with bones, tofu, almonds, and foods fortified with Calcium, such as orange juice, cereals, and breads are other good choices.

    You can find your recommended daily intake of Calcium in the chart below.

Life - Stage group mg/day
Infants 0 to 6 months 200
Infants 6 to 12 months 260
1 to 3 years old 700
4 to 8 years old 1000
9 to 13 years old 1300
14 to 18 years old 1300
19 to 30 years old 1000
31 to 50 years old 1000
51 to 70 year-old males 1000
51 to 70 year-old females 1200
>70 years old 1200
>14 to 18 years old, pregnant/lactating 1300
19 to 50 years old, pregnant/lactating 1000

Source: Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, 2010.

• Make sure you get enough Vitamin D

Your body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium and for healthy bones. Foods such as egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver are high in Vitamin D.

• Enjoy a well-balanced diet

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of nutrients for your body, and should be a part of your daily diet. Do keep in mind that whilst protein is an essential part of a well-balanced meal, too much protein may cause bone loss.

• Avoid or reduce

You may want to avoid salt, caffeine, smoking and alcohol as they may all contribute towards bone loss.

Older Adults (65 years and older)
  • At least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking
  • At least 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles
  • Activities to improve balance such as standing on one foot
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

• Aim for at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week

Exercise levels appropriate for your health and mobility
People without osteoporosis, and most people with osteoporosis About 50 moderate impacts on most days. This could be jumping, skipping, jogging or hopping.
If you have spinal fractures or are unable to do moderate exercise 20 minutes of lower impact exercise on most days
If you're not physically strong or unable to do regular exercise Aim to avoid prolonged sitting. Stand up for a few minutes every hour
Source: Royal Osteoporosis Society

• Low-impact, weight-bearing exercises are considered suitable

Lower impact Moderate impact High impact
Walks Highland dancing Basketball
Brisk walking Jogging or running Volleyball
Marching Team and racket sports Track events
Stair climbing Skipping and hopping Star jumps
Gentle heel drops Low level jumping Tuck jumps
Stamping Vigorous heel drops and stamping High level jumps
Source: Royal Osteoporosis Society

• Yoga is a good form of exercise too

It helps with your alignment, balance and mental well-being. However, there certain poses that are not recommended if you have osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation has a recommended sequence of poses, which can be found here.

• You can also try muscle-strengthening exercises such as:

Lifting weights

Using elastic exercise bands

Lifting your own body weight

Using weight machines

• Some recommended exercise routines for osteoporosis:

Source: Royal Osteoporosis Society

Postmenopausal women and older men need to consume more Calcium and Vitamin D on a daily basis. Depending on how much you get each day from food, you may need to take Calcium and/or Vitamin D supplements.

Calcium Amount Vitamin D Amount
Women younger than 50 Around 1000mg of Calcium every day Women under 50 An estimated 400-800 IU of vitamin D every day
Women older than 50 Around 1200mg of Calcium each day Women 50 and older Around 800-1000 IU or vitamin D every day
  1. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Hormones and Healthy Bones. Available at: https://cdn.nof.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Hormones-and-Healthy-Bones.pdf Accessed: April 2020.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018. Available at: https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf
  3. Royal Osteoporosis Society. Exercise for bones. Available at: https://theros.org.uk/information-and-support/bone-health/exercise-for-bones/