10 Exercises To Strengthen Your Bones From Your Living Room

Box of stretch bands
Strengthen your bones from the comfort of your living room by doing these 10 exercises.
Disclaimer: If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Well Guide contain information from peer-reviewed research, medical societies and governmental agencies; however, these articles are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

There are various types of exercises that help strengthen your bones. Weight-bearing, resistance training and balance training are proven to help improve bone health for those with osteoporosis.

Exercising doesn’t always mean fancy equipment or going to a gym. There is plenty that you can do right from the comfort of your own home. In fact, oftentimes when patients have a hard time sticking with a home exercise program, I suggest picking a few exercises to do in front of the TV. This can make exercise seem like less of a chore.

The following 10 exercises require no equipment and minimal space. They are weight-bearing exercises that also involve strengthening your muscles. Grab some comfortable exercise clothes, head to your living room, and follow along!

Standing Alternate Hip Flexion

Very hot or cold weather can make it difficult to want to go outside for a walk. Standing alternate hip flexion is a way to get some steps in without having to brave the elements. This can replicate walking by getting weight bearing through your ankles, knees, hips and back, while strengthening the muscles in your legs, hips and core. 

How to:

  • Start by standing upright with your feet about hip distance apart and arms relaxed at your sides.
  • Raise one leg so that your knee is the same height as your hip.
  • At the same time, pump your opposite arm forward.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. 
  • March in place for time (5-10 minutes) or for repetitions (50-100 times). 

Make this more challenging: Hold hand weights or water bottles.

Sit To Stands and Squats

Squats are something we do multiple times a day. Think about how many times you stand up from a chair, the toilet, your car or bed. When you practice squats, it also helps these daily activities become easier. When repeated multiple times in a row, such as in this exercise, you work the muscles of your legs, hips and core, while also weight bearing through your legs. You can start by doing a sit to stand with a chair. If this is easy, try doing a squat without a chair.

How to:

  • Find a firm chair that is about knee height or higher. 
  • Sit down on the chair.
  • Stand up from the chair. 
  • Repeat this 10-15 times.
  • Take a 30-60 second break.
  • Repeat this 2-3 more times.

For more of a challenge: Do this without a chair. 

  • Start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Sit your hips back and down to an imaginary chair.
  • Once you can’t sit any deeper without losing your balance, or keeping your feet flat, stand back up.
  • Also aim to repeat 3-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions. 

Other variations of squats include wall squats, physioball squats and single leg squats. 

Standing Lunges

Similar to the previous two exercises, standing lunges are a weight bearing exercise that strengthen the muscles of the legs, hips and core. Lunges are also very important to strengthen the muscles that allow you to get up from the floor. Whether you have had an unfortunate fall, or you are simply playing with young children or pets, it is crucial to be able to get up and down from the floor. Lunges can help!

How to:

  • Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Step one foot behind you and lower that knee to the floor while keeping your trunk upright.
  • The front and back knee should bend to about 90 degrees.
  • Then step the back foot forward to your starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Continue to alternate legs as you perform 10-20 repetitions total.
  • Rest for 30 seconds. 
  • Repeat 2-3 more sets. 
  • Use a couch or countertop to hold on to if needed for balance.

Lateral Squat Walks

Most of our daily activities are in front of us. Incorporating lateral movements, such as lateral squat walks with a resistance band, into your workout routine can work muscles that support the hips that help with balance. Strengthening these muscles can make you better at handling life situations such as turning quick or stepping out of the way. 

How to:

  • Start by standing upright, with your feet hip-width apart, using a countertop for balance if needed.
  • Place a resistance band loop around both ankles.
  • Step to the right for 5-10 steps, or the length of your countertop. Try to maintain an upright trunk and your feet facing forward.
  • Then, step to the left to your starting position.
  • Do this for 30-60 seconds.
  • Rest for 30 seconds. 
  • Perform this 2-3 more times.

To make this easier: Remove the resistance band from around your thighs or ankles. 

Tiger Balancing On Front Paws

Balancing on one leg puts more weight bearing on a single leg which can further help with bone growth. It also helps improve balance and strength of the leg muscles, which can prevent falls. Tiger balancing on front paws is a great tai chi exercise to practice single leg balance.

How to:

  • Stand with your legs hip width apart and feet parallel.
  • Shift your body weight side to side from leg to leg.
  • Keeping your weight in your left leg, lift your right knee up and raise your arms with your palms facing out.
  • Hold for up to 30 seconds.
  • Shift your weight back and forth again, then repeat with your weight in your right leg.
  • Repeat 2-3 sets on each leg.
  • Stand near a countertop to hold for balance if needed.

If you can hold this for 1 minute or more without having to hold on, try to make this more challenging: Balance on an uneven surface, such as a yoga mat, balance pad or pillow. Just be sure that the surface you are standing on is secure and won’t slip out from underneath you!

Double Leg Heel Raises

This exercise helps strengthen the muscles around the ankles and lower leg. Double leg heel raises can also help improve balance since your ankle joints are your body’s first line of defense when maintaining an upright body.

How to:

  • Stand near a countertop with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Raise up on your toes for 10-20 repetitions. Avoid swaying your hips forward and back as you raise up onto your toes.
  • Rest for 30 seconds. 
  • Perform this 2-3 more times.

Planks

This exercise puts weight bearing through the wrists, elbows and shoulders which can help improve bone growth in the upper body. Planks strengthen the muscles of the arms and core.  

How to:

  • Start by placing your hands on a stable surface. This could be a wall, countertop, couch, or the floor. The lower the surface, the more difficult this exercise will be.
  • Maintain straight elbows as you walk your feet back until there is a straight line from your shoulder, to your feet.
  • Hold as long as you can, or for 30-60 seconds.
  • Rest for 30 seconds. 
  • Perform this 2-3 more times.

To make this more challenging: progress to a lower version, or add in movement, such as alternating lifting one hand or foot off of the ground.

Push-Ups

There are many variations of push-ups. Regardless of which version you choose, this exercise bears weight through the arms and strengthens the muscles of the arms, core and chest. 

How to:

  • Start in your plank position- whichever version that works best for you!
  • Bend your elbows, lowering your chest to the surface your hands are on.
  • Perform 5-10 repetitions.
  • Rest for 30 seconds. 
  • Perform this 2-3 more times.

To make this more challenging: progress to a lower version or add more repetitions.

Bridges

This exercise strengthens the glutes and the core while bearing weight through the ankles and knees. Bridges are a great way to target strengthening to the glute muscles, which play a big role in walking, climbing stairs, squatting and balance. 

How to:

  • Start by laying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor about hip width apart.
  • Lift your hips up as high as you can and hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Repeat 10-20 repetitions.
  • Rest for 30 seconds. 
  • Perform this 2-3 more times.

These exercises address all major joints in the human body, working both the upper and lower body. Although we suggested sets, reps and time for the above exercises, you can perform as many as you feel comfortable with. The Bone Health & National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests that weight bearing exercises be performed for 30 minutes on most days of the week (Bone Health & National Osteoporosis Foundation). These 30 minutes can be done all at once, or broken up into smaller sessions throughout your day.

Explore related exercises

Standing Alternate Hip Flexion

View exercise

Lateral Squat Walks

View exercise

Tiger Balancing on Front Paws (Tai Chi)

View exercise

Double Leg Heel Raise

View exercise
stay tuned

We're launching soon.

Join our waitlist to get early access to a personalized exercise program built for women with osteoporosis and osteopenia.
* We don't share your data. See our Privacy Policy
Check mark
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
We will contact you shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

References

Benedetti MG, Furlini G, Zati A, Letizia Mauro G. The effectiveness of physical exercise on bone density in osteoporotic patients. BioMed Res Int. 2018;2018:4840531. doi: 10.1155/2018/4840531

How much exercise do you need? Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation. Accessed April 3, 2022. https://www.bonehealthandosteoporosis.org/patients/treatment/exercisesafe-movement/how-much-exercise-do-you-need/.