Active people have stronger musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems, which reduces the risk of falls and fractures related to osteoporosis. This is especially true for those who engage in moderate to vigorous physical activities, such as weight-bearing activities, at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes, which is very good for improving bone health.
The muscles that pull on the bones make stronger and denser bones. The more bone mass you accumulate from birth to age 35, the better your condition will be during years of gradual bone loss. After age 35, the body breaks down bone mass faster than it regains it. Exercise can also help you maintain good bone density later in life.
In addition to strength training every other day, additional strength-promoting bone building exercises include walking, running, jumping rope, jogging, stair climbing, aerobics, dancing, racquet sports, and other activities that require your muscles work against gravity. Swimming and cycling, while good for cardiovascular health, are not exercises to improve bone health.
If you suffer from osteoporosis, you may be wondering if you should exercise. The answer for most people is yes. You should talk to your doctor about what types of exercises you can safely do to preserve your bones and strengthen your back and hips.
Women are more prone to osteoporosis, so it is very important to participate in weight training. However, keep in mind that exercise alone cannot prevent or cure osteoporosis.
Tips for exercising and improving bone health
· Even if you don't have osteoporosis, you should check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
· Remember to warm up before you start and cool down at the end of each exercise session.
· To better take advantage of the benefits for bone health, combine several different weight-bearing exercises.
· Remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.
· Vary the types of exercise you do each week.
· Combine resistance and weight-bearing exercises with aerobic exercise to help improve your overall health.
· Involve a friend to help you move on, or better yet, involve your family and encourage them to be healthy too.
· Add more physical activity to your day: take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away, and walk to your coworker's office instead of emailing them.
Activities to do depending on the different ages
· Ages 6 to 17: More than 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. Include at least 3 days a week of aerobic exercise, 3 days a week of strength training, and 3 days a week of bone-strengthening activities.
· Ages 18-64 years: 150-300 minutes (2.5 to 5 hours) per week of moderate exercise or 75-150 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes to 2.5 hours) per week of vigorous physical activity; strength training at least 2 days a week
· Ages 65+: Follow adult guidelines where possible. Include balance activities if you are at risk of falling.
Activities for building bones and preventing osteoporosis
The following list of physical activities, ordered by intensity and level, can be of great help to improve bone health.
Initial / Beginner
Start doing one or more of these low-impact weight-bearing exercises on a regular basis. Get up and move!
· Square dance
· Low impact aerobics
· Slow dance
· Tai Chi
· Climbing stairs
· Elastic band exercises
· Home cleaning activities
· Load food
· Baseball / Softball
Moderate load / intensity / time
Increase your load, intensity and time of physical activity with muscle strengthening exercises. Get more exercise, and more often.
· Walk uphill
· Walk briskly
· Climber aerobic
· Fast dance
· Alpine ski
· Cross country ski
· Volleyball or basketball
· Elastic exercise bands
Advanced Load / Intensity / Time
Challenge yourself to keep increasing the load, intensity and time of physical activities. Strive to improve bone health!
· Weight vest hike
· Walking with backpack
· Brisk walk
· Jogging run