Exercise is important for everyone at all stages of their lives. It builds strong bones in your early years, and reduces your risk of osteoporosis and fractures later in life. 1
Bone is a living tissue, and when you apply a load or force, your bones react by growing stronger. 1 That is why exercise is so important for keeping your bones strong and healthy and reducing your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. 1 However, not all exercise is equal when it comes to building strong, healthy bones. The best exercises for your bones are weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening activities. 1-3
Weight-bearing exercise includes any exercise in which you are supporting your own body weight through your feet and legs, making your bones and muscles work against gravity. Your bones react by getting stronger. 1-3
These include: 2
- Stair climbing
- Using elliptical training machines
- Using stair-step machines
- Brisk walking
Muscle-strengthening exercises include any activities that require your muscles to work harder than normal. This resistance exercise works the tendons that attach muscles to bones which in turn boosts bone strength. 1-3
These include: 2
- Lifting weights
- Using elastic exercise bands
- Lifting your own body weight
- Functional movements, such as standing and rising up on your toes
Yoga and Pilates can also improve strength, balance and flexibility. 2
It is never too late to start a bone-healthy exercise program, even if you already have osteoporosis. Incorporating weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises into your routine will help you build healthy, strong bones. 1-3
Learn more about which exercise programme you should be following to increase your bone density:
Try these simple exercises for your bone health:
- The National Osteoporosis Society. Exercise and Strong Bones. [online] [cited 2017 September]. Available from: URL: https://nos.org.uk/about-osteoporosis/prevention-are-you-at-risk/bone-building-exercise/.
- The National Osteoporosis Foundation. [online] [cited 2017 September]. Available from: URL: https://www.nof.org/patients/fracturesfall-prevention/exercisesafe-movement/osteoporosis-exercise-for-strong-bones/.
- 3. NHS. Exercises for strong bones. [online] 2015 [cited 2017 September]. Available from: URL: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/healthy-bones/Pages/exercises-for-strong-bones.aspx.