Osteoporosis and Exercise:
Osteoporosis simply refers to increased porosity (pores – holes) in the bone (osteo). This is normal due to some form of pathology that causes the bone to break down faster than it builds itself back up. Bone is always in a state of breaking down and building up – even in healthy bone. This allows your body to build increased density (strength) along force lines thus making the bone stronger without making the bone too heavy. Almost like the frame of a house.
From this it can be concluded that healthy, strong bones need exercise. In fact exercise that is high impact and multidirectional leads to the strongest bones. An example of this would be playing tennis.
Those who already have osteoporosis would most likely be taking calcium tablets (building blocks of bone) and some form of drug which triggers your body to absorb more calcium and lay it down in your bones (reducing pores). However there is no evidence to suggest that this additional calcium which is laid down randomly (not along force lines) actually contributes to improved bone strength and reduced fracture risk (although theoretically it should). Whilst there are many studies that show exercise does reduce fracture risk and improves bone health.
Naturally the course you and your doctor take will depend on the severity of your condition. If you are severely osteoporotic you will need the medication and exercise. If only a mild case you may get away with increasing your exercise levels (get tested over several months). This also has the other benefits of exercise such as cardiovascular fitness, reduced stress, increased function, increased balance, reduced chances of chronic diseases etc.