Can Exercise ALONE Increase Bone Density?

Updated: March 6, 2023

Can exercise alone increase BMD?

If I’ve heard the following statement once, I’ve heard it a thousand times…

“All you need to increase your bone density is exercise.”

Maybe you’ve heard it too. And it’s exactly what you want to hear if you’re struggling with bone loss. A quick, simple fix to put your bone mineral density back on track. Fantastic!

But here’s the dilemma: just because it’s a common belief doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a correct one.

So, is exercise alone really enough to increase bone density? Let’s see what the research says and put the debate to bed once and for all…

What the Research Says

To get to the facts, I took a deep dive into the peer-reviewed research and read every relevant study I could find. The studies fell into one of two categories:

  1. Studies that examine the relationship between exercise and fracture risk
  2. Studies that examine the relationship between exercise and BMD

You can see a snapshot of the dozens of studies I researched in the two tables below. In fact, I read about 85 different papers. From there, I selected a handful which were conducted properly (what we would consider quality papers for inclusion) and summarized their findings.

Exercise and Fracture Risk

Study Type Summary Result
Exercise and fractures in postmenopausal women: 12-year results of the Erlangen Fitness and Osteoporosis Prevention Study (EFOPS) Observational 85 postmenopausal, osteopenic women without any medication or diseases affecting bone metabolism were assigned to either; supervised exercise (experimental group) or unvarying lifestyle (control group).

The exercise group performed two group sessions, and two home sessions a week. Both groups supplemented with calcium and vitamin D too.

After 12 years, overall fracture risk or rate ratio was not significant. Both groups lost bone mineral density, but the exercise group lost less

Not supportive
The role of physical activity in the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women-An update Prospective Cohort Two prospective cohort studies show a link between physical activity and hip fracture risk. There’s also evidence that physical activity slows bone loss in postmenopausal women. (In a dose-dependent manner).

The researchers mention the need for an intense, high impact exercise program. But this may be complicated and hard for the general population to adhere to.

Not supportive
Effects of a targeted multimodal exercise program incorporating high-speed power training on falls and fracture risk factors in older adults: a community-based randomized controlled trial. Randomized Controlled Trial The study evaluated 162 older adults with risk factors for falls and/or low bone mineral density for a year. They were randomly assigned to either an osteo-cise program or a control group.

The osteo-cise group exercised three times a week. They did high-velocity progressive resistance training (HV-PRT), weight-bearing impact, and challenging balance/mobility activities.

After 12 months, the osteo-cise program led to modest net gains in femoral neck and lumbar spine BMD. Muscle strength, functional muscle power, and dynamic balance improved too. (All compared to the control group). There was no effect on total body lean mass or mobility. And there were no differences in fall rates either.

Not Supportive for falls.

May be supportive for BMD

Physical activity, falls, and fractures among older adults: a review of the epidemiologic evidence Review of related studies A review of observational studies and trials on whether physical activity may influence fractures and fall risk. The results were inconclusive.

There’s consistent evidence from case-control and prospective studies that physical activity is associated with a 20-40% reduction in risk of hip fracture. (Relative to sedentary individuals). But few studies have examined the association between common osteoporotic fractures and physical activities. The ones that have haven’t found physical activity to be protective.

May be supportive (for hip fractures)
The association between physical activity and osteoporotic fractures: a review of the evidence and implications for future research Meta-analysis (combining data from multiple studies) An analysis of 13 studies on hip fracture and exercise. Also summarized evidence regarding the link between exercise and fracture risk determinants (namely, falls, BMD, and bone quality).

This study found moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is associated with a hip fracture risk reduction of 45% for women and 38% for men. It also suggests the risk of falling is generally reduced among physically active people. But there’s a potentially increased risk in the most active and inactive people.

Supportive (for hip fractures)

Exercise and BMD

Study Type Summary Result
Effect of exercise on bone mineral density and lean mass in postmenopausal women Randomized Controlled Trial 173 sedentary, overweight/obese, postmenopausal women took part in this 12-month study. They were all 50-75 years old and were randomly assigned to an aerobic exercise intervention or a stretching control group.

The exercise group did 45 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise 5 days a week for 12 months. The control group attended 45-minute stretching sessions once a week.

Exercises lost more weight than stretchers, and lean mass increased in both groups. But no significant differences in bone density were detected.

Not Supportive
High-Intensity Resistance and Impact Training Improves Bone Mineral Density and Physical Function in Postmenopausal Women With Osteopenia and Osteoporosis: The LIFTMOR Randomized Controlled Trial Randomized Controlled Trial 101 postmenopausal women with low bone mass were randomly assigned to either; eight months of twice-weekly, 30-minute, supervised high-intensity resistance and impact training (HiRIT) or a home-based, low-intensity exercise program (CON).

All participants increased their muscle strength. But, the CON group lost BMD at all sites measured. And the HiRIT group mostly maintained BMD, but some actually lost BMD.

Not Supportive
Meta-analysis of walking for preservation of bone mineral density in postmenopausal women Meta-analysis An analysis of both randomized and non-randomized controlled trials. The analysis included all trials assessing the effects of walking on the lumbar spine, femoral neck and total hip BMD in menopausal women. (Results were all measured by radiographic techniques).

The analysis concluded the effects of walking on BMD are inconsistent.

  • Insufficient data was available for the total hip site.
  • Regular walking has no significant effect on preservation of BMD at the spine.
  • There is evidence for positive effects at femoral neck site.

But, the analysis also noted methods and reporting discrepancies across trials are apparent.

Not Supportive
Optimizing Bone Health: Impact of Nutrition, Exercise, and Hormones Brief review to provide information about the best exercise for preventing osteoporosis The review concludes exercise alone generally only halts bone loss. Achieving optimal bone health and minimizing the risk of osteoporotic fracture depends on two key strategies

  • Accruing as much bone mass as possible over the first 30 years of life
  • Slowing the rate of age-related bone loss after that point.

It also states the importance of exercise, adequate calcium intake, and minimizing hormonal changes that cause bone loss as a three-pronged strategy to increase BMD.

Not Supportive alone


Peripheral QCT sector analysis reveals early exercise-induced increases in tibial bone mineral density. Randomized Controlled Trial A 13-week controlled trial to determine whether subtle changes in mineralization and geometry of the tibia (one of the bones in your lower leg) were evident following short-term exercise interventions. Fifty-seven females were randomly assigned to one of four 13-week training groups:

Sedentary control, resistance training, aerobic training, or combined aerobic-resistance.

A small increase in one area of trabecular density was shown in the aerobic group and the combined group over the study period. This may be an early measurable manifestation of bone quality changes.

May be supportive
Exercise maintains bone density at spine and hip Erlangen Fitness Osteoporosis Prevention Study (EFOPS): a 3-year longitudinal study in early postmenopausal women Longitudinal This was a 3-year exercise trial. Forty-eight osteopenic women with no medication or illness affecting bone metabolism participated in the exercise group. Thirty women served as the non-training control. The exercise group had two group training and two home training sessions a week.

At the end of the study, the exercise group saw bone density increases at all sites measured. The control group saw decreases. But there’s an important thing to note. All participants took calcium and vitamin D supplements for the duration of the study too.

Supportive – exercise did increase BMD (except in the wrist.) But, the exercise program was fairly intense and could be hard for the average older adult to follow.

What the Research Means for Your Bones

After looking through the research, the answer is clear: exercise alone isn’t enough to increase bone mineral density. Especially for people who are already experiencing bone loss. Only one of the studies in the table above showed any support to the claim. And even then, it only showed evidence of maintaining bone density, not increasing it. Plus, all the participants took calcium and vitamin D supplements for the duration of the study, so it’s unclear if exercise alone provided any benefit.

The studies on exercise on fracture risk weren’t too promising either (except for hip fractures)…

So here’s what you really need to know: Improving your bone mineral density (by the biggest percentage possible) takes a combination of factors, and exercise is one of them. I’ll outline the others in a moment…

So, is exercise still important for healthy bones? You bet!

Exercise combats sarcopenia

Sarcopenia is a common condition as we age, where muscle mass is lost and replaced with fat. The exact amount of muscle loss varies from person to person, but recent research suggests that the average rate for people over 70 is 0.5-1% per year.

As that happens, you become weaker, and it further affects the decline in balance associated with aging. And this significantly increases the risk of a fall.

What’s more, a decrease in muscle strength leads to a decrease in bone strength too. You see, the skeletal and muscular systems are tightly intertwined. The strongest mechanical forces on your bones are those created by muscle contractions. And these muscle contractions condition your bone density, strength, and microarchitecture (the internal structure of your bones.)

Fortunately, you can reverse the effects of sarcopenia with progressive resistance training. A 200% increase in strength isn’t unheard of in just a few months! Although the increase in muscle mass is usually around 10% in older adults.

Take me as a prime example! I’m approaching my 70th birthday, and over the last year my weight has only dropped 1.4 pounds, but my body fat percentage has dropped from 23% to 16.5% The muscle definition in my arms, legs, back, and abs is significantly more noticeable too! When I’m doing a plank, I can see muscles in my arms (mainly triceps) that I never saw before. And my ability to do some exercises has increased quite a bit too. Now I’m putting 3-pound weights on my legs when I do the ‘diamond’ exercise and on my pelvis when I do hip raises, or I just can’t get the burn!

So what am I doing differently?

I’ve been doing a one-hour barre class every day of the week. (Barre is an exercise class that uses a ballet barre for a lot of the moves- I LOVE it!) I’ve been out in the garden a lot too. You might not think it, but gardening is great exercise.

I’ve made a few diet changes too. I’ve completely cut out refined/highly processed carbs (think corn chips, potato chips, and bread) and only eat whole grains now. I’ve upped my protein intake too– I aim for at least 60 grams a day now. And it’s made a big difference in my stamina and energy level! So I can work out harder and longer… I may be in the best shape of my life to date!

Exercise turns on and extends the life of osteocytes

Osteoblasts are the cells that build your bones. After they’ve done their bone-building, they become embedded in the bone matrix they’ve produced and turn into osteocytes. Osteocytes are very long-lived cells (their average half-life is 25 years) that form a signaling network in your bones. It’s like the nervous system in the rest of your body. This network transmits signals to direct and balance the activity of your bone-building osteoblasts and your bone-resorbing osteoclasts.

And here’s where exercise comes in: osteocytes tend to die off as you get older. Especially if they’re not stimulated by “mechanotransduction.” Now, in plain English, mechanotransduction means a movement that puts stress on muscles, which in turn put stress on bones. In other words, exercise!

Exercise-activated osteocytes increase your production of osteoblasts and muscle cells

So, those osteocytes I was just talking about have even more bone benefits! In response to exercise, osteocytes send signals that increase the pool of mesenchymal stem cells. These are stem cells that can grow up to become osteoblasts, adipocytes (fat cells), or muscle cells.

And here’s the catch: you tend to produce fewer mesenchymal stem cells as you age. Plus, most of them become fat cells — unless you exercise. The cycle goes like this:

  1. Exercise turns on your osteocytes
  2. More osteocytes increase the number of mesenchymal stem cells you produce…
  3. …AND tells them to become osteoblasts or muscle cells instead of fat cells

Only one other strategy will effectively increase your production of mesenchymal stem cells AND convince them to become either osteoblasts or muscle cells instead of fat cells. So what is it? Consuming enough of the omega-3s, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

For more detail on the how and why read my dedicated post by clicking here.

Lastly, when osteocytes are turned on in response to mechanical loading (putting stress on muscle through exercise), they stop secreting a protein called sclerostin. And they increase the secretion of proteins involved in Wnt signaling too. Now, sclerostin inhibits the development of osteoblasts and bone formation. And Wnt signaling promotes the production of both bone-building osteoblasts and myocytes (muscle cells).

How important is this? Well, the newest (not yet approved) drug in the pipeline, was created to be a patentable antibody to sclerostin. As more people are exposed to this drug in trials, I’m sure I’ll be reporting on a whole host of adverse side effects. The few studies that have run already show an increased risk of vascular calcification, stroke and “cardiovascular events” (i.e. heart attacks). Along with a potentially increased risk of cancer too.

But, you don’t have to expose yourself to these nasty side effects. All you need to do is exercise!

Regular, vigorous exercise doesn’t increase BMD, but does lower your risk of hip fracture

So as you can see, exercise DOES have benefits for your bones. And given the information I’ve outlined above, it’s not surprising studies show that people who engage in regular, vigorous physical activity are 20-40% less likely to suffer a hip fracture. (Compared to sedentary people).

But the fact remains. There is next to no evidence to show exercise alone increases bone mass. The best that trials show is exercise slowing bone loss.

Still, that’s nothing to scoff at! Minimizing further bone loss as you age is a significant achievement. But there’s a catch: Exercise won’t deliver this benefit without calcium. Which brings us to the next section…

The Importance of Nutrition for Your Bones!

You wouldn’t tell a bodybuilder to forget protein because all they need for building big muscles is weightlifting, right? Well, the same principle applies to your bone density. You can’t rely on exercise alone. Remember when I said increasing your bone density requires a combination of factors? Well, here they are:

The three factors for building bone:

Consuming the essential bone-building nutrients

Nutrition steals the show when it comes to increasing your bone density. In fact, our award-winning studies show you can increase your bone density by providing your bones with proper nutrition alone.

But to maximize your bone-building results, you’ll need the supporting cast:

Regular weight-bearing exercise

We’ve already seen how exercise combats sarcopenia, reduces your risk of a hip fracture, and activates your bone-building osteoblasts. But when you incorporate proper nutrition with your exercise the benefits are maximized (as you’ll soon discover.)

Minimal exposure to harmful toxins

Everyday things like smoking, certain prescription drugs, and even refined sugar cause inflammation in your body. And inflammation leads to bone loss!

Together, these factors promote the growth of strong, healthy bones. Now, there are 13 essential vitamins and minerals that support the growth of healthy bones. (Plus a handful of others that help with things like calcium absorption too). I’m going to outline the ones that have a direct relation with exercise below, but you can read all about the others in detail on our “Osteoporosis Diet and Nutrition” page.


How is calcium related to exercise?

Optimal calcium intake is THE deciding factor in whether exercise delivers anti-fracture benefits or not.

Overwhelming evidence shows that individuals who consume low levels of calcium have lower bone mass (and greater risk of fracture) than age-matched individuals who consume adequate or high levels of calcium. And that goes for young people as well as older folk.

Plus, there’s a threshold for total dietary calcium intake of around 1,000 mg/day. Below this amount, physical activity has little to no effect on increasing bone mass.

A review of data from 16 exercise intervention trials in peri- or postmenopausal women looked at the effects of calcium intake and exercise on BMD in the spine and radius (the shorter and smaller bone of the two long bones in the forearm). In the spine, increasing calcium intake without the stimulus of exercise had a very minor effect. But at calcium intakes of less than 1,000 mg/day, exercise failed to improve spine BMD at all.

It took both the stimulus of exercise and sufficient calcium to increase BMD. Even when calcium was adequate, the effects of exercise on the radius were negligible. But this is probably because most training programs don’t put sufficient stress on the radius to make a difference.

In addition, physically active people may need even more calcium to support the increased bone formation potentially stimulated by physical activity. This could explain why the research on exercise and bone formation shows such inconsistent results. The lack of bone building in response to exercise could be because the higher levels of calcium needed weren’t available.

Even very high-intensity resistance and impact training don’t increase BMD in postmenopausal women with osteopenia and osteoporosis. In the “LIFTMOR trial,” 101 postmenopausal women with low bone mass were randomly assigned to either; eight months of twice-weekly, 30-minute, supervised high-intensity resistance and impact training (HiRIT) or a home-based, low-intensity exercise program (CON).

All participants (in both groups) increased their muscle strength. But, the CON group lost BMD at all sites measured. And the HiRIT group mostly maintained BMD, but some actually lost BMD. Remember, you lose about 1% of your bone density every year. So this study shows that even high-intensity exercise isn’t enough to counterbalance that loss. And what’s more, these women were consuming a diet that provided far more calcium than typical– around 900 mg or more a day. (Just under that magic threshold of 1,000 mg/day).

Plus, this was a serious workout. In one exercise, (jumping chin-ups with drop landings), participants had to grasp an overhead bar with their shoulders and elbows flexed to 90 degrees, and their hands shoulder-width apart with an underhand grip. The participants then jumped as high as possible while pulling themselves as high as possible with their arms. At the peak of the jump, the participants dropped to the floor, focusing on landing as heavily as comfortably possible.

The good news is that no fragility fractures occurred. So, this study shows that women with osteopenia, or even osteoporosis, can engage in high impact training when supervised. But frankly, I flinched just reading about those jumping-chin ups — OUCH! Could you do them?

The bottom line: Exercise without sufficient calcium intake will not increase BMD

In postmenopausal women, the mechanical stress of exercise appears to provide a necessary stimulus for increased skeletal incorporation of calcium. But adequate calcium must be present for bone mineralization to take place. And don’t forget, you need vitamins D and K2 to work with calcium to benefit your bones.


Protein is the crucial macronutrient for muscle growth. And remember, your skeletal and muscular systems are tightly intertwined. So basically, protein builds your muscle mass, which helps to keep your bone health in check.

But as you age, you become less able to convert protein into muscle. This is a contributing factor for sarcopenia, which I mentioned earlier. And if you recall, I stated that exercise combats sarcopenia. Well, eating enough protein is crucial too! But that’s where things get a little confusing. You see, the original recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein for older adults doesn’t appear to enough.

The original RDA is 0.8 g per kg of body weight. But that amount was set with preventing a deficiency in mind. Not for promoting optimal health. And experts are now suggesting that the original RDA could lead to muscle loss in older adults!

Don’t worry though. You can read all about the new RDA for protein experts are suggesting in our “Everything You Need to Know About Protein and Bone Health” post. It covers the best sources of protein, and why it’s important for your bones in more detail too.

Vitamin D and Omega-3s – Two Critical Nutrients for Muscle and Bone


Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps you absorb the calcium you consume. But that’s not all. A number of recent meta-analyses show that vitamin D treatment reduces the risk of falls too. Here’s why; muscle fiber membranes are loaded with vitamin D receptors. And their exposure to vitamin D triggers muscle protein synthesis- that’s how muscles grow!

Now, the ‘Institute of Medicine’ still claims there isn’t sufficient evidence for vitamin D’s importance to prevent sarcopenia. But in Europe, a panel of experts determined a vitamin D level of at least 30-44 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter in your blood) was necessary for musculoskeletal health. The “at least” here is important. Even 44 ng/mL of vitamin D isn’t enough for your bones. For bone and immune health, you need 50-80 ng/mL.

SeafoodOmega 3s

Omega 3s are most notable for their anti-inflammatory properties. (Inflammation causes bone loss!) But omega 3s also help preserve lean body mass, too. In particular, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

These two omega 3s increase the activation of an enzyme called mTOR. Now, mTOR activation is a big deal. mTOR is THE key regulator of muscle protein synthesis. And muscle protein synthesis is the process of repairing and building muscles tissue when you exercise! mTOR regulates a bunch of other vitally important cellular processes that enhance health and slow the aging process too!

The Nutrition Roundup

So, calcium, protein, vitamin D, and omega 3 fatty acids are the nutrients proven to boost the effect of, or maximize your exercises. But don’t forget, there are a total of 13 minerals your bones crave (protein and omega 3s not included).

Getting all of the above into your diet is a challenge though. Especially given the increased recommended daily intake of calcium for people over 50 (1,200mg/day). At my age, my appetite just isn’t what it used to be!

But thankfully, AlgaeCal’s Bone Builder Pack (AlgaeCal Plus + Strontium Boost) provides all 13 of those bone-supporting minerals. And that includes 720mg of super-absorbable, plant-based calcium! (The average diet provides around 500 mg/day of calcium. So your diet + the Bone Builder Pack = the recommended daily intake of 1200 mg or more!)

What’s more, when you use the Bone Builder Pack, you’re GUARANTEED to see an increase in your bone mineral density at every follow-up DEXA scan! Yes, it’s 100% risk-free.

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Now, the Bone Builder Pack doesn’t contain omega 3s. But I use Triple Power Omega 3 Fish Oil to get my daily fix of those. It provides over 1400mg of omega 3s, including EPA and DHA which I’ve discussed in this post. And the best part? It tastes AMAZING. Not like omega 3 supplements I’ve taken before. No, Triple Power tastes like mango! And it’s in liquid form too, so you don’t have to swallow a hefty pill.

That just leaves protein. Don’t worry though; it’s super easy to add protein-rich foods to your meals. In fact, you can discover the best ones in our “Everything You Need to Know About Protein and Bone Health” post.

Female athlete triad - Young women taking a break from workout

The Most Effective Exercises For Bones

Now, you might be wondering which exercises are the most beneficial for your bones. The good news is you don’t have to start a bodybuilding regime! But for your exercise to have the biggest impact on your bone health, you should try to tick off everything on the following checklist.

To make exercise more effective, it should:

  • Be happening at least three times a week for 1 hour – An hour every day of some form of weight-bearing movement would be far better
  • Be dynamic! – Include faster movements opposed to slow, static movements
  • Involve some impact – For example walking, jogging, or vigorous dancing, rather than cycling or swimming
  • Exceed a threshold intensity – Aim to exercise at least 70%, (preferably 85%) of your maximum effort. In other words, you should be short of breath and a little sweaty by the end
  • Gradually get harder – Whatever you do needs to take some effort to do! You should gradually increase the number of times you can work a muscle or muscle group because as you get stronger, what you’re doing will get easier (a very good sign!)
  • Involve short bouts of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods – Bopping till you drop is no fun. It’s not effective either. Take short breaks between exercise sets, and you’ll come back stronger
  • Impose an unusual loading pattern on your bones – You do want to repeat movements until the muscles you’re using get the message to get stronger. But you don’t want your entire workout to only include the same movement over and over again. That’s boring and ineffective. You want movements that involve a wide variety of muscle groups and movement direction.

And last, but definitely not least, your workouts should be combined with optimal nutritional support: protein, calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin K2, magnesium, boron and other trace minerals.

One important note: People with severe osteoporosis should avoid impact-producing exercises and exercises that involve forward flexion of the spine (curving forward to look like a “C”) to prevent injuries. You don’t have to avoid them forever, just until you’re no longer osteoporotic.

To get you started with exercises that are beneficial for your bones, check out the exercise section of the AlgaeCal blog.

How Much Should You Exercise?

We use Metabolic Equivalent (MET) hours when we look at the intensity of exercise. The MET measures the amount of energy you burn during exercise and various physical activities.

For reference, 1 MET is equal to the number of calories burned at rest: 30-38 calories for every 30 minutes. And you burn 3-6 METs of energy with moderate exercise: 90-225 calories in a 30-minute workout.

And here’s the exciting part: The Nurses’ Health Study showed that active women with a minimum of 24 MET hours of at least moderate activity per week had a 55% lower risk of hip fracture! (Compared to sedentary women getting less than 3 MET-hours per week).

The exact number of calories you burn will vary depending on two things. How much muscle mass you have, and how vigorously you use it during the exercise. The good news here is the more you exercise, the more muscle you will have, and the more calories you will burn.

For an idea of how many MET hours various activities tally up on average, check out the following table:

MET Hours
Physical Activity MET Hours
Light intensity activities  <3
Watching television 1.0
Sitting in whirlpool bath 1.3
Writing, desk work, typing 1.5
Walking, 1.7 mph (2.7 km/h), level ground, strolling, very slow 2.3
Yoga, Hatha 2.5
Cooking: food preparation, serving food, cleaning dishes, etc. 2.5
Walking, 2.5 mph (4 km/h) 2.9
Housekeeping (vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, making beds, moderate effort) 3.3
Standing, bathing dog/cat 3.5
Moderate intensity activities 3 to 6
Pilates 3.0
Walking 3.0 mph (4.8 km/h) 3.3
Calisthenics, home exercise, light or moderate effort, general 3.5
Walking 3.4 mph (5.5 km/h) 3.6
Video exercise workouts 4.0
Dancing (salsa, merengue, belly, swing) 4.5
Elliptical trainer, moderate effort 5.0
Barre3 3.0-5.0
Resistance weight training 3.0-6.0
Water aerobics, water calisthenics 5.3
Sexual activity 5.8
Vigorous intensity activities >6
Jazzercize 6.0
Dancing (disco, folk, line dancing, polka, country) 7.8
Jogging 7.0
Rowing, moderate effort 7.0
Calisthenics (e.g. pushups, situps, pullups, lunges), heavy, vigorous effort 8.0
Running jogging, in place 8.0
Stair treadmill 9.0
Rope jumping 10.0

Table Sources:


The Bottom-Line: MOVE IT or LOSE IT

So, is exercise alone enough to increase your bone density? The short answer is no.

The majority of studies show no evidence whatsoever to support that claim. And as we saw in the table earlier, even the ones that do are really looking into exercise, nutrition, and bone health. Not just exercise and bone health.

But exercise does play a big role in your bone health. Remember, proper nutrition is the key for building bone, but by exercising and avoiding harmful toxins you’ll maximize your results.

And remember, you can provide your body with everything it needs to maximize the results of exercise AND kick-start bone building with the Bone Builder Pack and Triple Power Omega 3 Fish Oil.

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As for exercise, find activities that get you moving and aim for at least one hour a day. One hour isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things, and your bone health is well worth the effort. And what’s more, you might just enjoy yourself!

I’d love to hear your favorite exercises and activities that get you moving, so please share them in the comments section 🙂

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  1. Phyllis Smith

    July 28, 2018 , 8:11 am

    Thank you…this is wonderful information, great research! How many METs does a 10 mile bike ride (1 hour) tally up?

  2. Jenna AlgaeCal

    July 31, 2018 , 9:23 am

    Hi Phyllis,

    So glad you enjoyed this post! To tally up your MET hours, you can click here for an article that takes into account the different types of bicycling, from leisurely to vigorous.

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  3. Barbara L Watson

    August 1, 2018 , 8:03 pm

    This powerful information was so valuable. Thank you for such powerful information. I assume that AlgaeCal Plus is needed to build density, plus exercise.
    Question: Omega 3 was mentioned as a necessary ingredient in the diet. What if you are allergic to shell fish? Is there a substitute for Omega 3 as a supplement?

    Another questiion: If one begins taking AlgaeCal Plus, is there enough Vitamin D in AlgaeCal Plus, in order not to take an additional Vitamin D supplement?

  4. Jenna AlgaeCal

    August 15, 2018 , 10:09 am

    Hi Barbara,

    Happy to hear you found the article so helpful!

    Our Bone Builder Pack (AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost) is clinically supported to increase bone density safely and naturally. And weight-bearing exercise is a fantastic addition to any bone-building routine – not only for strengthening bones but overall health.

    While you can get omega 3’s from dietary sources, like Lara Pizzorno discusses in this article, it’s difficult to get the optimal amount. Triple Power Fish Oil is an excellent source of omega 3’s that doesn’t contain any shellfish. It’s also molecularly distilled so there are no fish proteins in the product! That being said, for any severe allergies we do advise consulting with your doctor/allergist for their best recommendation.

    And to answer your last question, vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, and AlgaeCal contains 1,600 IU of vitamin D3! However, the majority of people are deficient, and you may need more than this. We always recommend having your vitamin D levels checked via a blood test to determine your unique needs (some people do require up to 10,000 IU per day, so it’s really important to do this). When you have the result of your blood test, you can go here to make sure you’re getting the right amount.

    If you have any questions feel free to email [email protected] or give our Bone Health Consultants a call at 1-800-820-0184 🙂

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

  5. Lara Pizzorno

    August 3, 2018 , 9:31 am

    Hi Barbara,

    What would rebounding fall under in terms of MET hours and intensity?

    As you know, you can rebound more gently (less intensity) or more vigorously (greater intensity). Rebounding in sports research is called recreational trampoline, and has a MET value of 3.5. When done as a competitive sport (competitive trampoline), it has a MET value is 4.5.

    What do these MET levels mean in terms of intensity?

    A MET of 1 is roughly equivalent to how much energy you use sitting still in a room that has a comfortable temperature and not actively digesting food.

    An activity with a MET of 2 means the person is using about twice the amount of energy used sitting (a task with a MET 1).

    So, rebounding, an activity with a MET of 3.5, translates to the person using about 3.5 times as much energy as she would if sitting.

    Know you did not ask about this, but thought you might be interested in estimating how many calories you burn when rebounding. Here’s the formula to figure that out:

    First, you need to find the calories you burn per minute. You do this by multiplying the MET value of the task (3.5) by your body weight in kg and 3.5, then dividing that number by 200.

    If we estimate you weigh 120 pounds (54.4 kg), the calculation will look like this: 3.5 x 54.4 x 3.5 /200, which = 3.33 calories burned per minute.

    You then multiply calories burned per minute by the number of minutes you did the activity to find the total calories burned.

    If you rebound for 30 minutes and burn 3.3 calories per minute (30 x 3.3), you burn ~100 calories (99.96 calories to be precise) when you rebound.

    It’s important to note here that these are estimates. The MET approach was designed to estimate energy used in different activities for research purposes. So, MET values “do not estimate the energy cost of physical activity in individuals in ways that account for differences in body mass, adiposity (body fat%), age, sex, efficiency of movement, or geographic and environmental conditions in which the activities are performed. Thus, individual differences in energy expenditure for the same activity can be large, and the true energy cost for an individual may or may not be close to the stated mean MET level as presented in the Compendium.” (as quoted from the main page of the Compendium of Physical Activities — )

    Do I recommend rebounding?

    Definitely not for anyone whose abdominal and pelvic floor muscles are not in excellent shape or whose balance is not quite good. Think about this, you are jumping up and down constantly for the entire workout, which surely stresses not only pelvic floor muscles, but all those that enable you to maintain healthy hip and spinal alignment and posture.

    A personal note here – I used to love river rafting. No longer do it. The constant pounding of the raft on the rapids is a recipe for spinal compression – it’s not good for my spine! Same for motorcycling. Still love riding behind my husband on his motorcycle, but now I’m sticking to paved roads. No more off road motorcycling trips for me!

    I exercise for at least an hour a day, but now focus on workouts that help me maintain an erect, elongated spine in neutral (optimal) postural alignment. I want to come out of my workout feeling taller and more balanced, not squished!

    If you REALLY enjoy rebounding, have excellent balance and strong abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, then go ahead, but please do it carefully: rebound gently and only on a rebounder with a safety net that is surrounded by deep foam rubber floor mats.

    I need to tell you that my advice here is my opinion, an educated opinion, but still an opinion. I was unable to find any research looking at the risks and benefits of rebounding for adults. All the papers discuss children’s use of trampolines, and the focus is on the number and severity of injuries that occur.

    Here are a couple of abstracts from current papers on this:

    Unfallchirurg. 2014 Oct;117(10):915-20. doi: 10.1007/s00113-013-2427-9.
    [Safety measures for trampolines cannot prevent severe injuries].
    [Article in German]
    Berger N1, Bader B, Bühren V.
    Author information

    The number of injuries caused by accidents while springing on a trampoline has increased significantly. This study therefore focused on the incidence, morbidity and circumstances of the accidents in pediatric patients.

    The children admitted to this hospital from 2002 to 2010 were re-examined and the children injured during trampolining were asked to fill out a questionnaire focusing on the mechanism of the injury and the circumstances.

    A total of 268 accidents were included in the study and 28% of the injuries were severe (e.g. fracture, luxation and rupture). If there were special safety measures (e.g. safety net, floor mats, surrounding water 63%) 28.4% of the injuries were severe and without safety measures 28.6% were severe. Safety measures did not influence the incidence of severe trauma (p=1). If a trampoline was equipped with a safety net (53%) 31% of the injuries were severe and without a safety net 25% were severe (p=0.473).

    Pediatric accidents on a trampoline result in severe injuries in 28% of cases. There is no difference in the severity of the injury regarding trampolines with or without special safety measures. Safety nets do not reduce the risk of severe injury.

    PMID: 23868662

    Pediatr Emerg Care. 2011 Nov;27(11):1052-6. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e318235e9e0.
    Trampoline trauma in children: is it preventable?
    Sandler G1, Nguyen L, Lam L, Manglick MP, Soundappan SS, Holland AJ.
    Author information

    Trampoline injuries represent a preventable cause of injury in children. This study identified the characteristics of children injured while using trampolines who presented to a pediatric trauma center in Sydney, Australia.

    The Pediatric Trauma Database at our institution was reviewed to identify children with trampoline-related injuries between January 1999 and June 2008. Data collected included age, sex, Injury Severity Score, anatomical region injured, type of injury, mechanism of injury, site of injury and surface fallen onto, level of supervision, treatment, and hospital length of stay.

    Over the 9.5-year review period, 383 children presented with trampoline-related injuries: 193 (50.4%) were female. Just over a quarter (n = 106, 27.7%) were treated and discharged the same day. The remaining patients accounted for 725 hospital bed days with a mean length of stay of 2.3 days. The most common area of the body injured was the upper limb (n = 246, 64.2%), with a fall from the trampoline to the ground being the most frequent mechanism of injury (n = 257, 67.1%). The majority (n = 345, 90.1%) of children were injured in their home or at the home of a friend or relative. Surgery was required in 236 (61.6%), with closed reduction of an upper limb fracture being the most common procedure (n = 107, 27.9%).

    Trampoline-related injuries remain common in children. Implementation of current guidelines and the introduction of innovative trampoline designs should reduce the risk of this injury in children.

    PMID: 22068067

    – Lara

  6. Sarah Cummings

    August 5, 2018 , 4:52 pm

    Hi Lara, this is a very informative post! Readers must be informed as early as they are in order to achieve the needed nutrients of our body. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. Maria Elena D Enage

    December 29, 2018 , 1:45 pm

    How many MET hours are consumed in bouncing on a trampoline 15 minutes daily?

  8. Jenna AlgaeCal

    December 31, 2018 , 2:56 pm

    Hi Maria,

    According to this website, bouncing on a trampoline is between 3.5 – 4.5 MET hours.

    – Jenna @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,