Resolve to Exercise for Bone Health
Benefits Of Exercising For Bone Health
Exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, helps prevent obesity, and builds and maintains healthy bones. Exercise makes both muscles and bones stronger. Bones are living tissue that continually builds more cells thus becoming denser with regular exercise. There are many different types of exercises and all of them offer health benefits. The most effective exercises for building strong bones are weight-bearing and strength-training exercises. Weight-bearing is any exercise that works bones and muscles against gravity. Examples of weight-bearing exercise include:
- Brisk walking and hiking
- Jumping rope
- Team sports, such as basketball and soccer
- Stair climbing
During strength-training activities, added resistance makes muscles work harder and become stronger. The most common strength training methods include using weight machines, working with free weights, or exercising using body weight for resistance such as push-ups. Resistance exercises focus on increasing muscle mass and have the bone-building capacity. If musculoskeletal health conditions prevent weight-bearing or strength-training exercises, there are excellent exercise alternatives. Non-impact exercises, yoga or tai chi, provide significant flexibility and balance training benefits. Non-weight-bearing exercise, swimming, and cycling do not increase bone mass but strengthen the heart and lungs. An effective exercise program for bone health includes 30 minutes of weight-bearing activity, 4 or more days a week.
A general guideline for strength training is to exercise each major muscle group at least twice a week. Rest for a full day in between strength sessions. End each exercise session with stretching to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Exercise has bone-building effects and is part of a total program to prevent bone loss. A balanced, calcium-rich diet and a healthy lifestyle are also key ingredients for lifelong bone health.
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