Spring brings with it a feeling of renewed energy, making it the perfect time to either start a new fitness programme or refresh your current one. So where do you start?
The benefits of exercise are numerous. It not only provides cardiovascular benefits to the heart and lungs, and challenges and strengthens and improves muscle flexibility, but is also very good for strengthening the bones.
Starting from childhood, regular exercise provides bone-building benefits right the way up to old age, when strong bones will help slow bone loss and help prevent falls and breaks. As bone loss begins gradually and naturally from the time you reach your mid-thirties, there is no time like the present to start strengthening those bones.
A balanced mixture of weight-bearing and non weight-bearing exercises is the ideal combination to help you get fitter, build stronger muscles and bones and boost your overall health from the inside out.
Weight-bearing exercise, which forces you to work against gravity, is the best type for building strong bones and lean muscles. Weight-bearing exercises can be high- or low-impact, and depending on your fitness goal and fitness level, it’s a good idea to include a combination of these exercises to keep the body challenged.
High-impact weight-bearing exercises include:
Low-impact weight-bearing exercises include:
- Elliptical trainers
- Low-impact aerobics
- Using stair-step machines
- Walking outdoors or on a treadmill
- Rowing machine
- Non-weight-bearing exercises
Non-weight-bearing exercises are generally low impact and gentle on the joints, such as swimming, yoga, Pilates and cycling. However, these are just as important to include in a fitness programme as they provide cardiovascular benefits and improve strength, balance and flexibility.
Exercise for Your Bone Health; NIH Pub. No. 15-7879-E; The National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases; http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/bone/Bone_Health/Exercise/default.asp
Osteoporosis Exercise for Strong Bones; National Osteoporosis Foundation; https://www.nof.org/patients/fracturesfall-prevention/exercisesafe-movement/osteoporosis-exercise-for-strong-bones/