Exercise Plans for the Exercise for Better Bones Program
This page contains the downloadable exercise plans for the Exercise for Better Bones osteoporosis exercise program. It assumes that you have purchased the book, Exercise for Better Bones, have read the introductory materials, and are ready to start your exercise plan.
If you have not purchased Exercise for Better Bones, you can get your copy in either print or Kindle format at Amazon.
Read on to find out how to download your exercise plan.
Table of Contents
- General Recommendations
- Step-by-Step Instructions
- Exercise Plans
- Additional Exercise Resources
The Exercise for Better Bones program is designed for individuals who want a safe, evidence-based osteoporosis exercise program that helps them increase bone density, improve balance and posture, reduce fracture risk and have a fun workout.
The program is composed of four main components:
- The book (in either print or Kindle format).
- Self assessment resources.
- Downloadable exercise schedules.
- Videos demonstrating the exercises.
Exercise for Better Bones was developed by me, Margaret Martin, a Physical Therapist with over 35 years of clinical experience. I developed this program for patients who visit my clinic and individuals all over the world who cannot see me in person.
The Foundation for Exercise for Better Bones
The program is based on the latest clinical research on exercise and bone health, my years of experience treating thousands of patients with this medical condition, and training materials I prepared for Physical Therapists across the US and Canada on osteoporosis treatment and management.
I believe that a “one size fits all” program does not meet the needs of this population. YouTube and other platforms are full of exercise recommendations for individuals with osteoporosis. Are these exercises safe or appropriate for you given your activity level or fracture risk? We don’t know.
Exercise for Better Bones is designed to recognize that we each have a unique medical profile. The program incorporates the following attributes:
- Four main exercise levels. The level you choose is based on your fracture risk and activity level.
- It encourages as much movement as I know will be safe for most people.
- The exercises and the implementation of the exercises are safe for the majority of people, assuming that they stay within the levels defined in Exercise for Better Bones.
- Exercise for Better Bones is a comprehensive osteoporosis exercise program that includes strength training, balance exercises, posture improvement, flexibility exercises, and weight bearing exercises targeted at improving bone density.
I recognize that many people have complex medical profiles and that modifications need to be made. For those people, an individual consultation can help them adjust their program to address their unique needs.
Let’s cover some general recommendations about the program before we get into the step-by-step instructions.
The majority of people, whether they have been recently diagnosed with osteoporosis or anticipate its onset, recognize that they need to start an exercise program designed specifically for bone health designed by a qualified and skilled health professional.
These individuals are very motivated and want to start exercising as soon as possible. Motivation is a wonderful thing. When present it can provide the staying power one needs to maintain consistency and commitment. However, it can cause some people to jump into a program before they are ready.
Let’s discuss several things you can do to prepare for your exercise program.
Your Guide to Stronger Bones
Consider Exercise for Better Bones to be your guidebook on the journey to stronger bones, better health, and increased confidence. With that in mind, follow these few general suggestions to increase your chances of success:
- Be patient. There is a lot to learn about your exercise program. You might find that you do not have the level of body awareness that you once had. You will likely have to learn how to move in new, different and better ways.
- Read the book, especially Chapters 1 through 5. These chapters cover important program fundamentals, explain how to do a self assessment, and will help you find your way through your program.
- Once you determine your exercise level, read the first two pages of the strength and balance chapters for your level.
- Read Chapter 8, Cardiovascular Exercises, and pay particular attention to the recommended cardiovascular (weight bearing) exercises for your level.
- Become familiar with the resources on this website, especially the video resources for the exercise levels. Later in this page, I provide a complete list of resources I recommend you use on this site.
- The exercises do not appear all at once in the exercise sheets because we want people to build slowly into the program.
- If you are comfortable learning all exercises at the same time, you can jump into weeks 10-12 and stay there.
Now that you have completed these tasks, let’s work on getting you your appropriate exercise level!
Follow these step-by-step instructions to determine your exercise level, select your workout frequency, and download your exercise schedule.
Step 1: Read Chapters 1 Through 5 of Exercise for Better Bones
It is important that you understand the fundamentals of Exercise for Better Bones before starting this (or any) osteoporosis exercise program. Please read chapters 1 through 5 of the book.
Step 2: Self Assessment
Before you start your Exercise program, you will need to determine the exercise program level most appropriate for you. The program you choose is based on your self assessment. The self assessment protocol is described in Chapter 2 of Exercise for Better Bones.
Four Program Levels
There are four exercise plans. Choose the plan level most appropriate for you based on the description provided:
- Beginner Level: You have not exercised in months, years or ever. You do light housekeeping but not the heavier work such as vacuuming or yard work.
- Active Level: You have been involved in a somewhat regular exercise program (one to two exercise sessions per week) over the past six months that includes some form of weight or resistance training. You do (or could do) all your own housework or yard work.
- Athletic Level: You have been involved in a regular exercise program (three or four exercise sessions per week). You have started to incorporate an exercise ball, or are not intimidated by the thought of it, as part of your exercise routine. You are involved in light sports or activities such as golf, dancing or curling/bowling, gardening.
- Elite Level: You have been involved in a frequent exercise program (three to five times per week) that involves strength training (i.e., lifting weights) for the past year (or more) and have used an exercise ball as part of your routine. You are involved in sports at a competitive level – or could if you choose to be.
However, if your most recent bone mineral density (BMD or DEXA) test results indicate that you are at a high fracture risk, you should not do the jumping and hopping exercises under the Balance and Strength sections in Athletic or Elite.
Step 3: Select Three or Six Days a Week Exercise Plans
For each level, I provide a 3-times-per-week exercise plan and a 6-times-per-week plan. When I present the option of working out 3-times-per-week or 6-times-per-week to my clients, most of them choose to work out 3-times-per-week.
Like many busy people these days, many of my clients find it hard to find the time to consistently complete their exercise programs and the 3-times-per-week commitment appears less onerous than the 6-times-per-week commitment.
However, when I explain to them that the 3-times-per-week plan means that they will have more exercises to complete in one session, some of them reconsider their original choice and opt for the 6-times-per-week plan.
The 6-times-per-week exercise plan will allow you to do fewer exercises per session while still getting one day off per week. By selecting the 6-times-per-week option, you spread your program over the week and reduce the amount of time per session.
No matter which of the two you choose, you will still be able to build your program over the 12-week time frame.
Exercise for Osteoporosis: Free Email Course
I offer all of my clients a free, five day email course on exercise and osteoporosis. All I need is your email address to get the course going for you. I do not SPAM or share your email address (or any information) with third parties. You can unsubscribe from my mail list at any time.
Sign Up for My eNews Letter
You can also follow me by signing up for my regular eNews letter. (If you have already signed up for the free course above, you are automatically on the eNews list). I do not SPAM or share your email address (or any information) with third parties. You can unsubscribe from my mail list at any time.
Now that you have selected your exercise plan level and the frequency, you can download your exercise plan here:
Three (3) Day a Week Exercise Plans:
- Beginner Level — Three Day a Week Program
- Active Level— Three Day a Week Program
- Athletic Level — Three Day a Week Program
- Elite Level — Three Day a Week Program
Six (6) Day a Week Exercise Plans:
- Beginner Level — Six Day a Week Program
- Active Level — Six Day a Week Program
- Athletic Level — Six Day a Week Program
- Elite Level — Six Day a Week Program
Please note that in the Cardiovascular Exercises section of the schedule, I recommend that you perform the suggested weight bearing activities for your level on alternative days.
Obviously, this does not work if you are following the six day a week program (there are only seven days in a week). If you choose the six day a week program, I recommend you follow the guidelines found in Chapter 8, Cardiovascular Exercises.
Step 5: Become Familiar with Each of the Main Exercise Groups
When I designed the exercise plans, I was quite specific about the warm ups and strength training exercises.
However, for the cardiovascular (weight bearing), balance and flexibility exercises I allow more latitude for individuals to customize their program. The reason: each individual’s balance skills, cardiovascular interests and degree of flexibility can vary widely and I need to give them room to choose what works for them, while being safe.
I encourage you to read the introduction to each of the respective chapters to help clarify how to use the exercise plans.
Try each of the stretches at least once. You should be able to determine if you feel tight while doing them or not. Stretching is less important for bone building and more important for keeping you limber and able to move with good body mechanics.
Since I cannot test your balance, I provide you with numerous options within each level. Choose a few balance exercises that challenge you and include them into your day. Along with stretching and strengthening, balance exercises reduce your risk of falling.
If you find you need to improve your balance, consider my four hour streaming video series on Amazon Prime and Vimeo, Balance Training Exercise.
You can learn more about the different balance levels in this video.
Cardiovascular / Weight Bearing Exercises
Consider your fracture risk when you choose your cardiovascular (weight bearing) activities from Chapter 8 of Exercise for Better Bones:
- Low fracture risk. You are encouraged to choose cardiovascular exercises within the maximal bone growth section in Chapter 8 to keep them strong.
- Moderate fracture risk. You are encouraged to choose cardiovascular exercises within the moderate bone growth section of Chapter 8 to keep them strong. Do not choose exercises in the maximal section as this will increase your risk of a fracture.
- High fracture risk. You are encouraged to choose cardiovascular exercises within the minimal bone growth section of Chapter 8 to keep them strong. Do not chose exercises in the moderate maximal section as this will increase your risk of a fracture.
Some individuals with a low fracture risk can certainly choose exercises within all section(s) depending on age, general health level and other factors.
Step 6: Download Your Activities of Daily Living Guide
In Chapter 3 of Exercise for Better Bones, I encourage you to download your guide to activities of daily living. You should do that and use it as a supplement to your exercise program.
Here are additional resources I encourage you to access as you use Exercise for Better Bones.
I have published a video demonstration of most of the exercises in Exercise for Better Bones program. I have also produced many other videos that supplement and explain key concepts in the program.
I have a page dedicated to better balance. I encourage you to read it. If you find that you need to improve your balance, I published a four hour Balance Training Exercise streaming video series available on Amazon Prime and Vimeo.
Perfect Posture Resources
If you want to learn more about posture, then visit my guide to a perfect posture.