As we get older, things like bone mass and muscle mass change. Bone mass tends to peak by 30 years old and is maintained until around age 50. Along with menopause and the change in hormone levels, loss of muscle mass also begins at the age of 50. Loss of bone mass (osteopenia) and loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) can contribute to a lack of physical activity. Osteopenia can progress with further losses of bone mass (osteoporosis), especially after the first five years of menopause, with as much as a 20 percent decrease.


 Musculoskeletal decline is heavily linked to protein, calcium, and vitamin D availability, with a decrease in physical activity levels surrounding this decade and beyond. While this can all seem alarming, it certainly does not mean we can't continue exercising. Instead, it's more of a reason to continue to build muscle and strong bones! Therefore, it's essential to take this bit of information and use it to our advantage to help us continue to exercise, or maybe even start.


 It's crucial to recognize vitamin or mineral supplements, hormone replacement therapy, or other non-physical interventions that help with these changes. Always check with your physician for any medication necessities or a physical therapist to see where your entry-point for movement is. With that said, here are some recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine to help you safely exercise to help maintain a strong body:


  1. Try to be active on most days. Aim for at least 2-3 days per week and 30-60 minutes per day. Do it in a single sitting or break it up at 10 minutes each session. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity of aerobic activity per week.
  2. For aerobic exercise, do rhythmic, weight-bearing exercises with large muscle groups (i.e., walking) at a moderate intensity (you should be able to carry a conversation). Weighted vests make great additions to load the bones to make them stronger. Be sure to choose an activity with a low risk of falling.
  3. Resistance train (weights) at least twice per week.
    1. Aim for two sets of 8-12 repetitions of all major muscle groups. Start with the lower body to help with fall risk, and address the upper body. Pick a weight that is challenging but isn't too light or impossible.
  4. Train balance. Stand on one leg, an unstable surface, or walk backward. Remember to do so with supervision or in a safe environment.
  5. Take special considerations for osteoporosis: water exercise is a good aerobic option if you have had fractures. Avoid exercises that cause you to twist or bend forward, as well as high-impact activity to reduce the risk of fractures. Modify exercise as needed to avoid these motions.

Remember to have fun! Exercise and healthy movement are lifetime investments. Contact a credentialed exercise professional to work with you, and remember to check in with your doctor. There is no reason why you shouldn't be equipped with the tools needed to live your best life!


Questions? Drop them in the comments below! Comments? Share. Let's discuss!




Dr. Leada





1. Agostini, D., Zeppa Donati, S., Lucertini, F., Annibalini, G., Gervasi, M., Ferri Marini, C., Piccoli, G., Stocchi, V., Barbieri, E., & Sestili, P. (2018). Muscle and Bone Health in Postmenopausal Women: Role of Protein and Vitamin D Supplementation Combined with Exercise Training. Nutrients10(8), 1103. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10081103

2.  Exercise Is Medicine, ACSM. (n.d.). Exercising with Osteoporosis. Exercise Is Medicine. Retrieved December 8, 2021, from https://exerciseismedicine.org/assets/page_documents/EIM%20Rx%20series_Exercising%20with%20Osteoporo...