Exercise tips for strong bones
Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do to build strong bones today and maintain a healthy skeletal system long into the future. Here’s what you need to know about the best forms of exercise for bone health.
Any form of physical activity that increases your heart rate is good for overall health. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, regulate blood pressure, and build strong muscles and bones to keep you feeling healthy and able for years.
However, when it comes to bone health in particular, some forms of exercise are actually better than others. Use these tips to build a healthy exercise routine that promotes strong bones to reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis or other bone injuries later in life.
Best Exercise Tips for Bone Health
1. Resistance Training
Studies show that resistance training is one of, if not the most effective exercise interventions for maintaining or building bone mass and density. To be specific, exposing your bones and muscles to a load that is heavier than that of normal daily activities stimulates bone-building processes in the body.
High-intensity resistance training, including using resistance bands or weights, is especially effective at building bone density among older adult populations, where osteoporosis is most prevalent.
What’s more, this form of weight-bearing exercise has effects that go beyond pharmaceutical interventions for osteoporosis. Resistance training has the double effect of building strength and potentially reducing weight in overweight individuals.
Weight loss can improve bone health because it reduces added stress on the skeletal system. In addition, bodies that weigh less have less severe falls and are less likely to experience bone fractures or breaks as a result of falling.
2. High-Impact Exercise
The second form of exercise that’s beneficial for building strong bones is high-impact physical activity. This includes things like running, dancing, and walking. Low-impact activities, on the other hand, include swimming and cycling.
While low-impact activities are great for cardiovascular and muscular health as well as a range of other health indications, activities that involve regular weight bearing actually promote bone growth.
This is especially true for school-aged children. Studies show that regular load-bearing physical activity from early childhood throughout adolescence plays an important role in maintaining bone health throughout life.
Despite being neither high-impact nor high-intensity, yoga is actually a form of physical activity that can contribute to bone health. First of all, following a regular yoga practice improves flexibility and muscular strength. Strong, pliable muscles are better able to protect and move your bones to prevent injury.
In addition, yoga may actually play a role in reversing bone loss related to age and osteoporosis. One 10-year study on a group of 741 adults found that practicing yoga for 12 minutes a day increased bone mineral density in participants’ spine, hips, and femur bones.
Maintaining Bone Health Beyond Exercise
While exercise is one of the best things you can do throughout life to build and maintain a strong skeletal system, it’s not the only factor impacting bone health.
Other lifestyle choices that can help your bones stay strong and healthy include:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Not smoking
- Avoiding excessive use of alcohol
- Eating a well-rounded diet rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other essential nutrients
If you’re concerned about any dietary gaps in the vitamins and minerals that support healthy bones, it’s a good idea to add a bone health supplement to your daily routine. A tablet specifically designed for healthy bones will help close any gaps in your diet so that you can focus on the high-impact activities you love.
1 Hong AR, Kim SW. Effects of Resistance Exercise on Bone Health. Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2018;33(4):435-444. doi:10.3803/EnM.2018.33.4.435
2 Hervás G, Ruiz-Litago F, Irazusta J, et al. Bone Health and Its Relationship with Impact Loading and the Continuity of Physical Activity throughout School Periods. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(16):2834. Published 2019 Aug 8. doi:10.3390/ijerph16162834
3 Lu YH, Rosner B, Chang G, Fishman LM. Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Regimen Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss. Top Geriatr Rehabil. 2016;32(2):81-87. doi:10.1097/TGR.0000000000000085