Osteoporosis

23 June 2014

5 exercises that strengthen your bones

Working out properly can be the key to fracture-free bones no matter how old you are

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Strong bones are an incredibly good thing to have, but they don’t grow on trees. Older people in particular need to proactively work at building up their bones through proper diet and exercise.

Going for a quick jog, however, isn’t the answer. In fact, that could actually make things worse. Only certain exercises have been shown to improve bone growth and protect you in the long run. Here are some exercises that fit the bill.

Jumping

You might feel a bit silly reaching for the skipping rope but as it turns out, exercises involving impact are the ones that have an impact. This is why cyclists often have very low bone density, their exercise involves no impact at all. However, older people need to be aware that too much impact could do more harm than good.

Squats

Simple squats are a great way to strengthen your bones without doing a huge amount of tiring cardio, meaning you can include them as part of your existing exercise regime if you have one. Squats help to strengthen arguably your most important bones, your spine. Do them with weights if you can, but don’t force yourself.

Read: What causes osteoporosis?

Stair climbing

One of those exercises that you can do almost anywhere, stair climbing has limited impact, making it better suited to older people. However, younger people can simply do it at a stiff jog to get more oomph out of it.

Hiking

A good long hike is full of benefits, both physical and mental. The varied terrain of a solid hike put strain on a wide range of bones meaning frequent excursions can make a big difference to your whole body. Try and walk as briskly as you can and don’t stick to the well-trodden path if you don’t have to.

Change things up.

Just like they do with muscles, exercises tend to only affect a localised group of bones. So bicep curls aren’t going to give you strong femurs, for example. This doesn’t need to be a problem, just make sure that in the course of a week or so you manage to work every part of your body, head to toe. Keep altering your exercise programme to target different areas. Not only will it make all of your bones stronger, it will make exercise less boring. 

Read more:
Vitamin D alone doesn't prevent fractures
Muscle mass linked to bone health
Playing sports builds healthy bones

 

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Healthy Bones

Tereza is the CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and worked as a Nursing Sister in the field of Osteoporosis for 18 years prior to her appointment with the Foundation. She used to be the Educational Officer for the Foundation and co-wrote the patient brochure on Osteoporosis. Read more

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