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Exercise To Build Stronger Bones

Yiwen Lu, MS, RD, CPT
February 1, 2024
February 1, 2024

Osteoporosis is a common condition. In 2010, just in the USA alone, around 10 million people aged 50 and above had osteoporosis. Additionally, about 43.3 million people had low bone mass. Around the globe, approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over 50 suffer from osteoporosis. One of the risk factors for developing osteoporosis is an inactive lifestyle. However, there is good news! Engaging in specific exercises can help you build stronger bones. Here are four recommended exercises to promote bone strength:

1. Strength Training

Strength training involves performing physical activities that require resistance, such as lifting weights, using resistance bands, or relying on your body weight. This type of exercise places stress on our bodies, which in turn stimulates our bones to become stronger and denser as time goes on.

The American Heart Association suggests strength training 2 to 3 times/week. Avoid playing favorites; ensure you work all body parts!

If you are unsure where to start, don't worry. We've got you covered with this beginner's guide to help you get started on your strength training journey.

2. Abdominal Training

Core exercises play a crucial role in improving our balance.

Why is abdominal training crucial, you ask? By improving balance, we can significantly reduce the risk of falls and fractures.

While our core muscles naturally help stabilize our body during different strength training activities, focusing on training them specifically can further enhance our core strength. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), serious injuries such as broken bones or head trauma occur in 1 out of every 5 falls. In fact, falls are the primary cause of traumatic brain injuries. The impact of falls is not only concerning for our well-being but also carries significant financial implications. To address this issue, it is essential to incorporate core exercises into our fitness routines. Some examples of exercises that can train your core include sit-ups, planks, single-leg stands, marching, and sit-to-stands.

3. Weight-Bearing Cardio

Weight-bearing cardio exercises, such as walking, jogging, dancing, hiking, or stair climbing, are great for bone health. They promote bone remodeling, where the bones adapt and become stronger. When you engage in weight-bearing activities, the mechanical stress triggers bone cells to become more active, leading to the deposition of minerals like calcium into the bones. This process makes your bone denser and stronger over time.

On the other hand, activities like swimming or cycling, while excellent for cardiovascular fitness, do not provide the same bone-stimulating benefits. However, it's important to remember that if you enjoy swimming or cycling, you should continue doing them as they offer numerous health advantages. Regardless of their impact on bones, cardiovascular exercises contribute significantly to overall fitness and well-being.

4. Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility exercises are important for keeping your joints healthy and preventing injuries. While they may not directly make your bones stronger, by adding stretching exercises to your routine, you can improve your overall mobility and flexibility. This helps you perform other exercises better.

Incorporate yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and dynamic stretching routines to enhance overall mobility and flexibility.

Takeaways

Before you get started, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a certified trainer. They can help you create a workout plan that fits your specific needs and abilities. For additional resources, check out some follow-along videos available under the Rewards section. These videos can help you feel more confident and improve your understanding of different exercises.

Keep in mind that consistency is crucial to attain long-term benefits for stronger bones. Stick to your exercise routine regularly, and you'll see progress. You've got this! 

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