Physical exercise and osteoporosis: effects of different types of exercises on bone and physical function of postmenopausal women

Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2014 Jul;58(5):514-22. doi: 10.1590/0004-2730000003374.


Physical exercise is an important stimulus for osteoporosis prevention and treatment. However, it is not clear yet which modality would be better to stimulate bone metabolism and enhance physical function of postmenopausal women. This review paper aims to summarize and update present knowledge on the effects of different kinds of aquatic and ground physical exercises on bone metabolism and physical function of postmenopausal women. Moderate to intense exercises, performed in a high speed during short intervals of time, in water or on the ground, can be part of a program to prevent and treat postmenopausal osteoporosis. Mechanical vibration has proven to be beneficial for bone microarchitecture, improving bone density and bone strength, as well as increasing physical function. Although impact exercises are recognized as beneficial for the stimulation of bone tissue, other variables such as muscle strength, type of muscle contraction, duration and intensity of exercises are also determinants to induce changes in bone metabolism of postmenopausal women. Not only osteoanabolic exercises should be recommended; activities aimed to develop muscle strength and body balance and improve the proprioception should be encouraged to prevent falls and fractures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause / physiology
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / prevention & control
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / therapy*
  • Resistance Training
  • Swimming
  • Vibration / therapeutic use
  • Walking