I have Osteopenia and Osteoarthritis: How Do I Exercise My Lower Body?

I have osteopenia and osteoarthritis. I have had 2 total knee replacements and am almost 72. I also have a plate on my left fibula from a break many years ago (NOT due to bone loss, but the way I fell).

What activity is best for strength training for my lower body? I have been a couch potato but have recently gotten back into yoga for just a couple weeks, and already quit hurting!

But I am having trouble with my left foot, preventing me from walking like I would like. I am buying a new pair of tennis shoes as my old ones no longer give proper support and they are supposed to arrive today (YAY!). I do not want to go to the gym at this point even though I already had a mild case of Covid.


What To Do

Having both osteopenia and osteoarthritis, two and opposite ends of the continuum for strength training prescription you want to create a program that provides rewards and minimizes risk of pain and or inflammation in your joints.

How to Balance Dual Needs

The two conditions present you with a need for lighter weight and moderate to higher repetition range for your osteoarthritis and need for heavier weights for your osteopenia.

In other words, you’ve got competing needs. While heavy weight is best for bone, your arthritis is your limiter and the determinant of best program for you. It is that which will determine your ability to be more active or that keeps you from being more active.

So, you’ll want to optimize your lifestyle habits and nutrition as much as possible given your weight training plan will have less positive impact on bone. (more about that later)

Your goals:

  • Bone density
  • Muscle strength and endurance
  • Balance specific
  • Reaction skills


Sources of calcium

  • Almond milk 420
  • Coconut yogurt 320
  • Canned salmon
  • Sesame seeds
  • Broccoli

Protein– 30 grams at each of 3 meals

Reduce inflammation

  • Omega 3
  • Curcumin
  • Eliminate dairy, sugar, wheat and gluten

pH support

increase consumption of veggies

because an acidic environment encourages bone loss

knee friendly 5 day workout

Another episode you may like:

Beyond Calcium

flippingfifty dot com/osteopenia and arthritis

2 thoughts on “I have Osteopenia and Osteoarthritis: How Do I Exercise My Lower Body?”

  1. Dear Debra, I’m a 69 1/2 year old retired RN, with scoliosis, degenerative joints throughout, & arthritis, which isn’t revealed by looking at me; except for my bulbous knees. I’ve even had to compensate when walking with my feet pointing outward. I stay active, do whatever yoga positions and stretches I can almost daily. I haven’t be able to perform lunges in many years. I’ve recently began lifting wts but standing causes too much lower back pain. I eat a plant based diet and have eliminated inflammatory food, and no processed at all. HELP. Which program would you recommend ? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Laura, None of the Flipping 50 programs are completely void of standing work. You can do much of the exercises seated for upper body and you can opt for alternatives for lower body. However, even the knee-friendly exercise series includes exercises for the cardio segment that you may not find work for the conditions you’re working around. I think you’d be under-served by choosing one vs a program that’s designed for you and what you’re working around.

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