Exercise does help postmenopausal women in the fight against osteoporosis but the benefit is small, a review of 43 studies shows.
The Cochrane Collaboration, which reviews best evidence, found that exercise will improve bone mineral density slightly and will also slightly reduce the chances of having a fracture.
Those who exercised had on average 1-3% less bone loss than those who did not exercise, and 7% of women who exercised had a fracture compared with 11% who did not exercise.
Exercise is thought to increase bone mass and the most effective types appeared to be non-weight bearing high force exercise such as progressive resistance strength training and combination exercise programs.
Content updated 2 August 2011