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Exercise and Prednisone – Is it safe? What if I’m stuck in bed?

Exercise and Prednisone – Is it safe? What if I’m stuck in bed?

Exercise and Prednisone

Can I exercise with prednisone? Is it safe? What if I’m stuck in bed?

But what if you’re taking prednisone? Is it safe to exercise? What if I feel too sick to hike a mountain?

Find out the answer to these questions throughout this article. First, watch the video about prednisone & exercise. Below, you can find out my other tips and details about exercising while taking prednisone.

In this video, we discuss exercise and prednisone.

I filmed this video, below, while it was summertime around here. It makes me want to hike a mountain, swim at the beach, or ride my bike.

  • What you need to know about exercising while taking prednisone.
  • What to watch out for.
  • Types of exercise that are helpful and what could be damaging.

Prednisone makes muscle waste away.

So we need to fight back to stop the muscle loss.

Check out this video I made with an exercise scientist:

You may be thinking… I can’t exercise.

Don’t worry—we’ve got something for every level of ability.

Even if you’re stuck in bed.

Watch now!

Prednisone Side Effects & Exercise

Prednisone causes over 150 side effects. So what can you do about it? Well, there’s a magical treatment that can help prevent a lot of them. This magical treatment, is of course, exercise with prednisone.

It helps:
1. with anxiety 
2. with getting restful sleep
3. prevents osteoporosis
4. strengthens muscles

…All of those things that prednisone only makes worse.


Let’s focus on the most important prednisone side effect that the doctors worry about when they prescribe prednisone: osteoporosis. Exercise is one of the keystones to keeping strong bones. Next, find out other important factors to consider when striving to strengthen bones that prednisone is depleting.

Lifestyle Modifications

The doctors who prescribe prednisone the most, rheumatologists, recommend the following lifestyle modifications to keep bones strong: 

  • Eat calcium-rich foods
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per day
  • Quit smoking






To prevent osteoporosis, do resistance training exercise.

Start out just using a can of soup as your weights, one can in each hand. As you get strong enough, you can use regulation weights.

To prevent osteoporosis, do weight-bearing exercise.

This impactful exercise is the type where gravity is forcing your body to hit the ground harder than normal standing up. Examples include:

  1. Walking: the dog, in the mall, in the neighborhood 
  2. Running: outside or on a treadmill 
  3. Dancing: alone or with a partner or along with a dance exercise video 
  4. Hiking: Mother Nature is a nice bonus! 
  5. Jumping rope: a nice concentrated aerobic exercise 
  6. Jumping jacks: see HIIT below

But I’m in pain! How can I exercise?

Many people taking prednisone are doing so because they have pain, joint problems, or breathing problems that make it difficult to do these exercises. While this makes it more complicated to find the right exercise, there are special exercises designed for nearly every limitation. Physical therapists are trained to help you in this way. Websites like SparkPeople.com have exercises designed for limitations. When I was stuck in a wheelchair for 6 months due to a foot injury, I did the SparkPeople seated workouts.

Make sure it’s safe by checking with your doctor, but most of the exercises in the video can be done by anyone with any level of ability.

Types of Exercises that Don’t Help Osteoporosis

Reading the list of resistance training exercises above, there are certain types of exercise clearly missing that do not help prevent osteoporosis. My favorite, riding my bike, does not count because there is not enough impact on the bones. Cycling is a fantastic cardio and strengthening workout, helpful to maintain the muscle wasting side effect of prednisone, but not helpful for osteoporosis. Other exercises that are good for people with joint problems, such as swimming, water aerobics, or yoga, do not prevent osteoporosis. These exercises have many other benefits, like preventing muscle wasting or insomnia, but do not impact the bones, so do not affect osteoporosis.

Dr. Megan riding bike with kids in trailer.

Minimum Effective Dose

As a pharmacist, I believe in taking the M.E.D., or minimum effective dose. That means I take the lowest amount of medicine necessary to treat the condition. I apply this to my lifestyle as well: I strive to do the least amount of exercise needed to maintain my health. When HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) research showed that short but intense workouts are as effective as long but not intense workouts, I was thrilled. Now I do the research-based 7-minute workout. I downloaded the free SEVEN app and do their “Full Body” workout at least 3 times a week. It helps me feel strong enough, straightens my posture, and keeps my gut and arms toned. Just seven minutes a day!

[seven app image: credit]

7-Minute Workout

HIIT Seven Minute Workout

At first when I started the Seven workout, I was recovering from giving birth and I couldn’t do all the workout exercises with proper form. For example, I couldn’t do proper push-ups. Until I was strong enough to do them right, I did “girl push-ups” with my knees on the floor instead of just my toes. Eventually I built up the strength to do it properly. All I need is a chair, the wall, and the impact of my own body weight to complete a full workout. It’s okay if you’re not as fast or your technique is not as precise as the coach, or model, as long as you do something. Resistance training exercise will help your bones and prevent the osteoporosis caused by prednisone.

→ Which workout “works out” for you? What are you going to start doing to improve your bone strength?

Take Nutranize® Zone™ to Help

Nutranize Zone is designed to help with these nasty issues that make you feel old too soon.

  • Calcium and vitamin D for strong bones.
  • Riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamin A target eye health.
  • Berberine helps keep blood sugars normal and prevents food cravings. 
  • Cinnamon may help keep blood sugars, cholesterol and blood pressure normal.
  • Chromium helps keep stable blood sugars.
  • Melatonin helps with occasional sleeplessness.

Along with taking Nutranize Zone, it’s important to make natural lifestyle changes to prevent these awful side effects.

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP, is an award-winning clinical pharmacist board certified in the types of conditions people take prednisone for. Dr. Megan had to take prednisone herself for an autoimmune condition so understands what it feels like to suffer prednisone side effects and made it her mission to counteract them as the Prednisone Pharmacist.

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