How to Keep Your Bones Healthy Part 2 – Get Active

Exercise helps you maintain bone strength

Last week I shared how a smart diet plays a key role in bone health. I’d like to share another important component for healthy bones – exercise. Not only does exercise provide many benefits for weight management, it also helps you maintain bone strength. Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Exercising also helps prevent falls and fractures by helping you maintain muscle strength, coordination and balance.

Use Your Body to Build Bone Strength

These three types of exercises will help build and maintain bone density and strength:

  • Weight-bearing exercises like walking, jump roping or jogging puts good stress on your bones which your body will naturally respond to by building more bone. If you rely on non-weight bearing exercises like biking or swimming, or perform the same routine day-in and day-out, mix it up and consider adding some jumping jacks now and then. “Surprising” your bones with new activities keeps them awake and responsive in a positive way.
  • Strength train to maintain and build muscle while you lose fat. Muscle pulls on bone when you move, causing your body to create stronger bones. Muscle also helps maintain hormone levels that promote bone growth. Use dumbbells, resistance bands or your own body weight for whole-body moves like squats and push-ups.
  • Balance exercises will help keep you steady on your feet and help prevent slips, falls and fractures. Give tai chi, yoga, or Pilates a try or practice these simple balance exercises regularly.

Remember that key word I mentioned for bone health? Variety. When it comes to exercise, think variety to keep muscles and bones strong as you lose fat. Of course, if it’s been awhile since you’ve exercised regularly, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. And start slowly to avoid injury.

What are your favorite exercise routines for muscle and bone strengthening? Share your comments below!

Jeannemarie Beiseigel, PhD, RD, is a registered dietitian with a doctorate in human nutrition, foods, and exercise. She’s worked with academia, government and industry and has several published research studies. She recently started her own practice as independent nutrition consultant for businesses and individuals. You can e-mail Jeannemarie at Read Jeannemarie's full bio.


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