The Best Exercises to Keep Your Bones Healthy
We exercise for a variety of reasons regardless of our age, but did you know that exercising regularly can both prevent and treat osteoporosis1? It can also do more than improve your bone health including coordination, balance, and muscle strength2.
Why Is Exercise Important?
We often think about our muscles when we exercise but bone is also living tissue and it will respond to exercise and become stronger. When young men and women exercise regularly they are more likely to achieve a higher peak bone mass. This includes the maximum bone density and strength. Those who do not exercise have a much lower peak bone mass. As we get older, we begin to lose our bone mass. In most cases, our bone mass peaks in our 30s.
This can be prevented by exercising regularly. When men and women exercise regularly after the age of 20, it helps prevent the loss of bone and improves muscle strength, coordination and balance. This also helps to prevent fractures by reducing the risk of falling. Older adults benefit from this to an even greater degree, especially if they have been diagnosed with osteoporosis3.
What Exercises Build Bone?
The best exercises you can do for your bones are weight bearing and resistance exercises. When you do weight-bearing exercise, your body is forced to work against gravity. Some of these types of exercises include walking, jogging, hiking, dancing, playing tennis and climbing stairs. Resistance exercises include lifting weights and it also can benefit the bones by strengthening them. Bicycling and swimming can also be beneficial for strong muscles and cardiovascular health but they don't do as much for your bones.
Tips for Healthy Exercise
If you are over the age of 40 or are experiencing any health conditions, such as hypertension, heart problems, obesity or diabetes, your doctor should be consulted before you start exercising regularly.
The Surgeon General recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days but it is better if you get that much exercise on a daily basis.
Don't push it when you first start exercising. Listen to what your body is telling you. You might have some discomfort or muscle soreness when you first start but it shouldn't last more than 48 hours or be overly painful. If it does last too long or is too uncomfortable, try reducing your workload. If you have any discomfort or pain in your chest, stop exercising and consult your doctor.
For those who are already diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor will tell you which activities are safe to begin. Experts recommend that those with low bone mass protect their spine by avoiding flexing, bending or twisting exercises. In addition, high impact exercises should be avoided to reduce your risk of fracture. An exercise specialist can be consulted to help with the progression of activity, instruct you on how to stretch and strengthen your muscles in a safe manner. You may also need to correct poor posture habits that have been a problem for the majority of your life.
Exercise specialists should have a degree in exercise psychology, physical therapy, physical education or some type of similar specialty. Ask if they are familiar with how to help individuals who have osteoporosis safely.
Part of a Complete Osteoporosis Program
Exercise is an important part of osteoporosis prevention or treatment. It works along with a diet rich in vitamin D and calcium that can strengthen your bones, regardless of your age. It is important to remember that exercising and dieting might not be enough to stop the bone loss associated with menopause, lifestyle choices (tobacco or excessive alcohol use) or certain medical conditions. Always discuss bone health with your doctor and see if you are a candidate for a bone mineral density test. When a low bone mass diagnosis is given, ask if there are medications that can help to keep your bones strong.
To make sure your bones stay healthy as you age, we recommend NATURELO Bone Strength made with Plant Calcium & Magnesium.