Resistance to osteoporosis

Kelly Maria Fit workout

For anyone who wants to prevent osteoporosis and/or reduce the risk of bone fractures and other disadvantages if you have osteoporosis, there are various options to build up resistance to osteoporosis and limit its disadvantages. In this article we discuss the most important actions we as humans can take to keep bones as strong as possible.


Exercise is really important for strong bones, every time you move you put pressure on the bone system, which makes this system more resilient and strengthened. Inactivity is therefore disastrous and accelerates osteoporosis. An exercise session of 10, 20 or 30 minutes every half day is therefore not superfluous.

Muscle training, weight training, is also crucial for creating strong bones. The strong contraction (contraction of the muscle against resistance) of the muscles as they pull on the bones to which they are attached positively influences bone quality. Researchers discovered that women who combined recreational exercise with muscle training had higher bone density in the spine than women who only exercised recreationally (Davee, Rosen & Adler 1990). Other studies (Layne & Nelson 1999 and Petranick & Berg 1997) also showed that muscle training increases bone density, especially in women before menopause. Two hours of muscle training per week appears to be sufficient to make the bones stronger. The improvements can be measured within eight weeks.

The intensity of stress on the bones is important for the development of bone density. It is therefore recommended to use a resistance with which an exercise can be performed 10 to 15 times. So make it nice and heavy. In general, 1 set of 10 to 15 is recommended, but two sets per exercise gives extra results. Muscle training should focus on all body parts because we have bones throughout the body, so 10 to 12 exercises are recommended for all major muscle groups, at least twice a week.


Our body adapts to the resistance we give it and in the case of bones, high impact training results in a greater adaptation than low impact training. In other words, the pressure exerted on the bones determines the result.

Forms of exercise in which the bones and muscles have to work against gravity with impact, such as running, dancing, jumping rope, Zumba and other impact sports, provide the best effect against osteoporosis. Swimming and cycling are of course healthy, but on the other hand they have less effect on bone quality because there is less movement against gravity.

Exercise tips for better bone health:

  • Do resistance training at a high intensity.
  • Do impact training at least once every week
  • Focus on the muscles of the legs, spine, upper body and the front and back of the hip area.
  • Emphasize moving in different directions.
  • Consult a qualified (personal) trainer to develop an appropriate exercise program to strengthen bones.


Everyone over the age of 25-30 starts to lose muscle mass (sarcopenia), as much as 1% per year, and bone quality also decreases. This muscle mass is built up and maintained through protein-rich nutrition and muscle training. People with a muscle disease often have less muscle mass than healthy people and still need extra proteins and training. Eating sufficient protein is therefore important to limit the loss of muscle mass.

How much do we need?
Adults need an average of 0.83 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day. That amounts to about 58 grams of protein for someone weighing 70 kilos. Some groups need a little more. These are vegetarians, vegans, children, pregnant and breastfeeding women. Strength and endurance athletes and people with certain conditions or wounds also need slightly more protein.

What does protein contain?
We can get protein from animal food and plant food. Protein-rich animal products are: meat, chicken, fish, beef, turkey, steak, egg, dairy products (curd and Skyr contain more protein than regular milk), cheese, yogurt (Greek yogurt contains more protein than regular yogurt). However, be careful with red meat and full-fat products, as they also contain saturated fats, which increase our bad cholesterol. So the advice is to eat red meat a maximum of 2 times a week.

Plant products that contain proteins are seeds, legumes (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, kidney beans, soy beans and lentils), nuts, seeds, quinoa, whole grain products, soy milk, soy, tempeh, tofu.

Here are some tips to get enough protein:

  • Eating a protein-rich diet is especially important after exercise and up to 2 hours before going to sleep, but then eat something lighter in the evening, such as cottage cheese, yogurt or a protein-rich smoothie.
  • Distribute the proteins evenly throughout the day.
  • The hot meal often contains a lot of protein because of meat or the meat substitute. Breakfast and lunch require extra attention. Taking a milk product with these meals or, for example, eating more legumes (in the salad) improves protein intake.
  • An egg or cheese are also suitable products to increase protein intake at breakfast and lunch.
  • A protein shake is good if it is difficult to eat enough protein. When purchasing the protein shake, make sure that you choose a variant without added sugars.

If you have food intolerances or lactose intolerance, ask a dietitian what your personal protein needs are. By reading labels or using an app (for example the Eetmeter) you can see whether you are getting enough proteins.

More information:

Vitamins and calcium
Four essential nutrients for bone health are calcium and vitamins C, D and E. In America, women aged 19 to 50 are advised to take 1000 milligrams of calcium per day and 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day. (In the Netherlands this amount is 2.5 to 5 micrograms per day.) Vitamin D is present in oily fish, such as mackerel and salmon. Vitamin D is also added to margarine, low-fat margarine and baking and frying products in the Netherlands.

An Australian study indicates that supplementation of the antioxidants vitamin C or vitamin E in osteoporosis eventually slows down the gradual loss of bone tissue. Of 533 non-smoking menopausal women, 22 were regular users of vitamin C or vitamin E supplements. Statistical analysis showed that the longer one of the antioxidants was used, the lower the concentration of C-telopeptide (CTx), a marker for bone metabolism.

The researchers provide an explanation that antioxidants influence the differentiation of osteoblasts. They conclude that vitamin C and vitamin E can play a role in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Calcium is needed as a building material and for the strength of the bones. Calcium is mainly found in dairy products, such as cheese and milk. However, calcium is also found in some vegetables, nuts and legumes. If your normal diet does not provide these recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D, it is advisable to take supplements. Women aged 50 or older are advised to take 1200 milligrams of calcium per day and 15 to 20 micrograms of vitamin D (Borer 2005). Don’t want or can’t take milk? Soy drink with added calcium and vitamin B12 is an alternative.


The mindset factor can be a major factor in the development of osteoporosis and in building resistance to osteoporosis. This involves two types of mindset, the pro-activity mindset and the calm mindset.

Pro activity mindset
You have osteoporosis, you read this piece and are immediately motivated to do impact training, muscle training, exercise more in between and consume more protein-rich products. What will happen is that your conditioning, the lifestyle you have learned, will try to keep everything the same. In fact, your cognitive brain will come up with arguments and excuses here and there to occasionally skip what you have planned or find difficult. Know and expect that negative resistance will come and that you can counteract that negative resistance. Because consistency in application simply brings the most results and effect and, especially with osteoporosis, it is important to implement the measures and continue for the rest of your life.

So don’t let yourself be trapped by your conditioned thinking and actions, catch yourself when you use excuses, think about what I want to do with this and then immediately adopt a pro-active attitude and mindset. This also slowly turns negative mindsets into positive ones.

Calm mindset
Just as we have to incorporate exercise into our day and just as we have to spread healthy food throughout the day, it is also very important to let our recovery hormones flow through our body all day long, instead of our stress hormones. such as cortisol.

Worry, annoyance, frustration and fear, all negative emotions trigger our sympathetic nervous system, our fight/flight response and the production of cortisol. Long-term cortisol in our body is perhaps the worst disease maker in humans, those substances and the stress actually only stay in our body for 2 minutes. However, with our thinking and worrying, we can turn those two minutes into 2 hours, 2 days, 2 weeks, months and even years.

That is why it is very important to maintain balance every day, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system several times a day, with which we produce recovery substances such as seratonin, oxitrin, melatonin, dopamine and more.

Restoring peace to our mind and body brings our homeostasis back into balance, reducing the acidity in our body and in our microbiome, reducing the risk of low-grade inflammation and slowing down the breakdown of bone tissue.

How do we do that, activate that parasympathetic nervous system?
Here is a short list of activities with which we can weaken our negative emotions, think more consciously, better control our monkey mind thinking, better remove waste products and immediately reduce the stress hormones in our body:

  • Walking, cycling, sports.
  • Yoga, pilates, chi gong, tai chi, Nirvana.
  • A stretching session.
  • Contact with nature.
  • Cuddling and other positive contact.
  • Having fun, laughing and making favorite music.
  • A pleasant moment with friends/family.

The most valuable and powerful are:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Mindfulness exercises
  • Meditation

This does not concern one activity during the week, but several moments per day. Make it rituals, the morning walk, then a stretch, breathing exercises while walking, then a morning meditation, lots of breathing exercises in between, doing many activities mindfully during the day, etc. The more often you do it, the better and the faster it becomes. it’s your normal routine.

The combination of all 4 aspects obviously has the most effect.