10-Minute Cardio Workout for Stronger Bones

By Elizabeth Millard, A.C.E.-certified trainer, RYT-200 yoga teacher |

Building and maintaining bone health is essential for an active lifestyle. This quick at-home routine will help keep your body stronger.

Cardio workout for stronger bones

Women, thanks to their smaller frames, are at greater risk for osteoporosis than men are. And the odds of having weak, brittle bones get higher as we age. That’s because we begin to lose more bone than we build. Preserving and building bone density is crucial right now, since it also helps us stay flexible, have a better range of motion, and maintain balance.

Strength training can increase bone density, because weight-bearing exercise promotes bone growth. But this strategy may be a new approach for you: Jumping a little bit helps too. If your doctor has given you the OK to do moderate- to high-impact exercise, add some moves that include a little bounce. In one 2019 Brazilian study, postmenopausal women who performed jumping exercises two or three times a week had stronger leg bones than those who didn’t.

If you feel like you have a little less hop in your step these days, not to worry. You don’t need to sprint or jump rope every day to get results, and those activities may not be advised if you have joint-health issues. These low- to moderate-impact moves below, done twice a week, will give you better-bone results without overdoing it.

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How to Do the 10-Minute Cardio Workout for Stronger Bones

As always, safety is key. Get your doctor’s OK before beginning a new exercise program. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis and arthritis), balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

You can do the moves below as a circuit, which means doing all of the exercises as a set and then repeating the set two times. If you need to rest between each exercise, that’s fine. Remember, this is your workout. Feel free to modify it to suit your needs.

What you need:

  • Space to move
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Sturdy chair for stability, if needed
  • Water to sip, as needed

Exercise #1: High March

How to do it:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and brace your core.
  • Keeping your chest up and your back straight, march in place.
  • Lift your knees up as high as you can without leaning forward.
  • Move as quickly as you can with good form.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

Move right into the next exercise.

Exercise #2: Alternating Reach

How to do it:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Brace your core.
  • Bend your knees to begin a light bounce.
  • As you lift up, alternate reaching your arms across your body and then over your head.
  • If you’d like, you can lift your heels to go up on your toes on the lift up.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

Move right into the next exercise. 

Exercise #3: Box Steps

How to do it:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and brace your core.
  • Moving quickly, step forward with your right and then your left foot, as if you’re tapping two corners of an imaginary box on the floor.
  • Quickly step back to your starting point, leading with your right and then your left foot.
  • It might help to say to yourself, front, front, back, back.
  • Continue the box step for 30 seconds.

Rest for 10 seconds.

Exercise #4: Standing Knee Driver

How to do it:

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms bent at about a 90-degree angle at your sides.
  • Shift your weight onto your right foot and hinge at the hips to bring your upper body forward slightly.
  • Keeping your chest up, step back with your left foot to tap your toes on the floor behind you.
  • Then drive your left knee forward in front of you.
  • Continue bringing your left foot back and then driving your left knee forward.
  • Once you’re comfortable, pump your arms back and forth at the same time.
  • Continue for 15 seconds.
  • Switch sides to do standing knee drivers on your right side for 15 seconds.

Move right into the next exercise.

Exercise #5: No Rope Jump Rope

How to do it:

  • Stand tall with your feet two to three inches apart—the distance they would be for jumping rope.
  • Place your hands down by your sides. If you prefer, do this move six inches away from a wall, counter, or other sturdy surface, which you can grab onto with one or both hands for support.
  • Brace your core, and look straight ahead.
  • Slowly bend your knees, and hop two inches off the floor.
  • Land with both feet, keeping a slight bend in your knees.
  • If you’d like, go ahead and circle your wrists as if you’re holding a jump rope.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

Rest for 10 seconds.

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Exercise #6: Skater Step

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. With control, step one foot behind you at a slight angle, landing on the ball of your foot with your hips and knees bent slightly.
  3. You can step back as little or as much as comfortable for you. Let your arms swing gently and naturally.
  4. Still with control, return your foot to the starting position.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.
  6. Continue alternating for 30 seconds.

Move right into the next exercise.

Exercise #7 Side Kicks

How to do it:

  • Stand with feet hip- to shoulder-width apart.
  • Brace your core and place your weight on your left foot.
  • Kick out to the side with your right foot.
  • Return to start, plant your right foot and put your weight on that foot.
  • Kick your left leg out to the side.
  • Continue alternating side kicks for 30 seconds.

Rest for 30 seconds. Then repeat the circuit two more times.

Love this and want more? Take a SilverSneakers Circuit Class! It’s offered both in-person at participating fitness locations and online with SilverSneakers LIVE.

See our sources:
Brazilian study on postmenopausal women: Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy 

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