Exercise is very important for preventing and treating osteoporosis. Not only does exercise improve your bone health, it is also important for you overall health.
Weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises are the two types of exercises for building and maintaining bone density. But the best exercise for your bones is the weight-bearing kind.
So Why Weight-Bearing Exercise?
Weight-bearing exercise means that your legs and feet are supporting you. The force of gravity puts stress on your bones, and your bones respond by building more cells. These exercises include any activities you do while standing-up.
What are the Weight-Bearing Exercises to Try?
Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include walking, weight training, hiking, tennis, jogging and dancing. Exercises that are not weight-bearing include swimming and bicycling. Although these activities build and maintain strong muscles, and have great cardiovascular benefits, they are not considered to be the best way to exercise your bones.
Dancing is considered to be a well-rounded workout. It keeps you on your feet, gets your pulse up and most importantly strengthens your muscles, bones and heart. It is also a good workout for the brain, because you need to remember the steps and sequences.
2. High-impact aerobics
High-impact aerobic classes will help strengthen bones that are stable enough to handle the force. Low-impact aerobics on the other hand, are a safer choice for individuals with more severe osteoporosis. Lastly, the no-impact classes, like water aerobics, maybe the best choice for those who already have a fracture.
3. Brisk Walking
Walking at a quick pace, even for short periods, will provide good benefits for your bones, aside from the fact the it is good for your health. Three short walks per day, are as good as one long one. If you’re concerned about sidewalk accidents or other tripping dangers, a treadmill is a good alternative.
4. Build Muscle With Weights
Using resistance equipment and lifting weights, will build bone and muscle mass at the same time. Plan to work each major muscle group at least twice a week with at least 1 day of rest in between. If you’re just starting to lift weights, work with a trainer or check with your doctor first, to learn proper form.
Yoga improves your flexibility and posture, while also strengthening the bones. Though some yoga poses, such as forward-bends, may not be appropriate for people with osteoporosis. Consult your doctor or physical therapist, if there are positions you should not try at all.
6. Other exercises to try are running or jogging, tennis, jumping rope and climbing stairs.
How Often Should You Exercise?
For boosting bone health, try weight-bearing activities such as walking or dancing at least 4 days a week for at least 30 minutes, if you can. You can also divide the time into 10-15 minutes if you want. Then for at least twice per week, add exercises that help build muscle. Don’t forget to stretch regularly.
Making small changes to your everyday routine can also benefit to your bone health. Whenever possible, add physical activities into your daily routine. Try to walk instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevator or tend to your garden. Always remember to consult with your doctor first, before starting on any exercises or physical activities.