There’s more to keeping your bones healthy than drinking milk and taking calcium supplements. Exercise is just as important for bone health as a healthy diet. Research shows that people who exercise regularly can have high peak bone mass.
Why exercise matters for bone health
Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to strong bones. Regular exercise works to strengthen bone mass and density as well as the thickness of bones, and it also helps aid in the decrease of bone loss.
Our bones are a living mass, and like muscles they need stress added to them in order to stimulate growth and maintenance, this is why exercise is so important. Keeping up with a good exercise program is also beneficial so as we get older as it helps with balance and coordination to prevent falls that may result in fractured bones.
Best Bone Strengthening Exercises
Weight-bearing and resistance exercise can result in denser, stronger bones because performing these activities adds stress to bones which stimulates extra deposits of calcium helping to form bone cells.
Weight-bearing doesn’t mean “lifting weights”— it actually means doing activities while your body is upright and moving against gravity. A good example is jogging, which is more weight bearing than bike riding. Weight bearing activities can include both high- and low-impact exercise.
- Running and/or jogging
- Stair climbing workout
- Treadmill or outdoor fast walking
- Low-impact aerobics
These are exercises and activities that typically include weights that your body uses as resistance against gravity.
- Weight lifting with free weights
- Weight machines/circuit machines
- Resistance bands
- Body weight exercises (push ups, pull ups)
More Tips for Bone Health
- Bones that bear the load of the exercise you are performing benefit most from that exercise. For example, jogging protects bones in the lower body.
- Perform over-all body workouts or activities to target all bones. Tennis hits the mark for a complete body workout. Or try walking the golf course instead of taking the cart.
- Aim for 30 minutes of daily exercise.
- Incorporate balancing exercises to help prevent falls resulting in bone fractures or breaks.
- If you are already diagnosed with osteoporosis, check with your doctor to see what exercise program is the best fit for you
- Always check with a physician if you have any health issues or concerns before starting a new exercise program.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes calcium-rich foods and a vitamin D supplement (1,000-2,000 IU) to aid in the absorption of calcium. (Most of us do not meet our daily vitamin D requirements!)
- If you smoke, quit. Bone mineral and density loss are associated with smoking.
For even greater bone health support, consider one of these daily supplements: