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Disability Exercise

Building stronger bones when faced with disability

Taking charge of your bone health is essential for everyone with healthy diet and lifestyle choices of paramount importance for strong bones. Weight bearing exercise is well-known to help keep bones strong, so what can you do if you’re physically disabled and simply cannot put weight through your feet for any length of time?

People with disabilities face unique challenges, including a higher risk of osteoporosis. This is because they can’t put weight through their body or activate muscles to pull on the bones when moving limbs – the two primary ways to stimulate the bone building cells into action.

Osteoporosis is recognised as being a secondary health complication for people who have limited or no mobility.  The risk rises in direct correlation to how dependent someone is on mobility aids.  So, an individual who uses sticks or a walking frame will be at less risk than someone who uses a wheelchair. Disabled youngsters and teenagers are of particular concern as they aren’t able to build bone to its peak mass – which usually occurs rapidly during childhood and early adulthood, peaking in their late 20s.

As well as physical inactivity, other barriers to healthy bones for disabled people include:

Nutritional Deficiency

Dietary limitations or difficulties in obtaining a balanced diet may lead to insufficient intake of bone-strengthening nutrients like calcium and vitamin D


Some medications commonly used by people with disabilities can have side effects that negatively impact bone health.

Hormone Factors

Certain disabilities can affect hormone levels, which play a crucial role in maintaining bone density.

Tackling the problem

While it’s harder for people with a physical disability to build and maintain good bone density, careful dietary choices and maximising opportunities to be weight bearing – during specialist physiotherapy or rehabilitation programmes for example – can help improve things.

IMPORTANT: it’s important to seek advice from your healthcare provider before making changes to your routine as they will know what’s best for you and can help to personalise any adjustments to your health plan.

Be physically active

  • Engage in activities that are suitable for your condition. Regular weight-bearing exercises, as approved by your healthcare team, can improve bone strength and overall wellbeing. See if you can find rehabilitation, physiotherapy or adapted gyms where equipment can support you in some standing or stepping exercises.

Eat Well

  • Focus on a balanced diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients.
  • Limit alcohol consumption as it can leach nutrients from bones.
  • Stop smoking as this can negatively impact bone health.
  • Don’t forget the role collagen can play to help build and maintain bones that have tensile strength.

Bioactive collagen peptides optimised for bone, such as those found in bonebalance™, are a game-changer when it comes to boosting bone health. Collagen is a key component of bones and these peptides are derived from collagen, making them highly effective in supporting bone strength and flexibility.

Wonderful in their own right for anyone’s diet, they are particularly welcome among people who are taking medication for health conditions as collagen has no contraindications.

Natural and safe

Bioactive collagen peptides are derived from natural sources and are generally well-tolerated, making them a safe option for many individuals including children and young adults.

Furthermore, these peptides have been scientifically proven to support bone mineral density, reducing the risk of fractures.

Many disabled people and those with limited mobility may already be taking collagen peptides for their joint health – which is well-known to help. It’s important to note that collagen peptides come in different sizes, optimised to go into whichever body tissue needs support.  This means if you’re already taking a collagen for joints, another, different collagen will be needed to boost your bone density.

Safety first

It’s doubly difficult for people with limited mobility to protect their bones as not only are they are at a greater risk of osteoporosis, they also have a higher risk of having a fall. And, as we know, falls are the primary cause of fractures, especially among people with osteoporosis whose bones aren’t able to take the impact.

Assistive devices like canes, walkers or braces can help to enhance mobility, allow you to be weightbearing, improve strength and balance and, therefore, reduce the risk of falls. As well as doing a bone and body health check, it’s worth doing a home health check. Adding handrails, removing trip hazards -such as ill-fitting rugs, loose cables and low level tables, stools or chairs- can all make life a little easier to navigate.