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Bone Health
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Ostopenia and Pilates

Is Pilates helpful for ostopenia?

6 Replies

I find ( if done correctly) Pilates is good for improving core strength, therefore balance, posture and all around general flexibility.

Although the moves themselves may look easy and slow, the challenge is doing them correctly ie, getting the correct breathing and abdominal muscles working appropriately.

For this reason it’s best to attend a small class with a good teacher, who knows about OP and will watch what you are doing and make sure you are doing them correctly.

Best wishes


I discovered I’d osteoporosis 10 years ago. I’ve been going to classes for many years with an excellent teacher, in small classes as LynneH-19 advises. A very good physiotherapist I attend approves of my Pilates classes. As far as I know recent advice for osteoporosis is to have good core strength plus good balance and posture. I do believe Pilates does all that for me plus great flexibility. Done regularly they keep my back from giving me trouble, some of the exercises being good for bone strengthening as well as engaging small muscles attached to bone. I don’t think Pilates on its own would increase bone density. For that you need weight bearing exercise such as brisk walking, running, dancing or because you only have osteopenia skipping/hopping is safe and advised for you. Please keep an eye on The National Osteoporosis Society’s website as shortly they are publishing new up to date specific exercise programmes for osteoporosis, as well you can call them to get advice from their advisors. Doing weights is strongly advised and if your spine in involved using a good weight vest is useful. Start slow and build up at whatever you do and maybe let your doctor know what you plan to do or discuss with the afore mentioned advisor. Fortunately I’ve had no fragility breaks in the past 10 years which I put down to Pilates and lots of exercise.


Hi, I also go to Pilates classes twice week and although I do have to modify some moves (I don't curve my spine forwards to protect the front of the spine) I find it helps. I've even gone recently with a fractured ankle as it kept me moving. I also go to spin and aqua aerobics but avoid high impact exercises.


Have spinal and sacral fragility fractures and just started Prolia. Not done a lot I’d exercise for a few years due to other conditions but have recently been considering Pilates. My daughter goes to one who seems very knowledgeable re OP ( he is a Pilates trainer). Just trying to pluck up the courage to go for a one to one


Hi there. I also do Pilates and yoga. My lumbar spine is osteopenic and hips osteoporotic. I have a good personal trainer who has given me some great guidance. He basically said even though I don’t have osteoporosis in my lumbar spine, the DEXA never measured the thoracic spine, therefore all exercises must avoid flexion of the spine and extreme postures, as in Yoga. He agrees that Pilates is safe as long as the teacher knows how to modify exercises to protect the spine.

I belong to a local David Lloyd gym where we have some good Pilates instructors. The classes are big though. I would advise a PT if you can afford one. The NOS and Melio Guide are two websites that are good.



I started Pilates five years ago. I have Osteoperosis but don't take anything for it. I had a back injury in 2003 and took 1/2 tab Tylenol 3 for 14 years and suspected I would be on it for life.

By chance, I looked into Pilates and was so lucky to get the rehab Pilates instructor that I did. We do weekly 1-1 Pilates on the cadillac (the large bench) with easy, repetitive movements. As others have said, it may look easy but those gentle slow stretches engage mini-muscles and over time have allowed some give in the surgical site scar tissue where I had failed back surgery. Expensive yes but some of the best money I ever spent.

My instructor has taken a lot of classes in rehab Pilates so I was lucky. I also believe in massage to loosen muscles so it's easier to stretch them so I have a massage every two weeks. I also see a physiotherapist for failed heel surgery where I lost my mobility.

Based on all of that, the addition of the Pilates was what made the biggest difference for my back. After about 2+ years, I noticed that I'd forget to take my pain medication. Then I took fewer and fewer on an "as needed" basis and eventually thought, why not just stop them as I didn't need them. I haven't taken one since my last surgery and that was over three years ago.

So, does it help with actual bone density? No, not directly. But, in my experience, with an excellent Pilates instructor its got me moving and walking which helps bone density. I also think that all the hip rotating, etc. that we work on for my hip decreased bone density is preventative for injury. I rarely get back pain unless doing something idiotic. My problems now are the mobility issues because of my failed bone spur surgery which has really undermined my quality of life.

I'm still "deciding" about meds for the osteo. It was highly recommended to me to have the Prolia injection but something put me off, just a feeling to take my time deciding and so far, no breaks.