Exercise sampler: Building hip strength

"What weight-bearing exercises do you suggest for strengthening the hipbones?" asks a reader. Here are some suggestions.

One of our greatest fears as we get older is that we will break a hip, an event that can cause permanent disability, depression, and the need for long-term care. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer a hip fracture, partly because we have a greater risk for osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones.

The chances of developing osteoporosis vary with age, body type, estrogen levels, genetic makeup, ethnicity, lifestyle, level of physical activity, diet, and certain medical conditions. Women are especially vulnerable because they lose bone at an accelerated rate during the first few years after menopause. Along with adequate calcium and vitamin D, exercise is a cornerstone of osteoporosis prevention. It not only helps limit bone loss but also improves balance and coordination and strengthens the muscles we rely on to stay upright. This provides a hedge against falls — one of the main causes of fractures.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »