Exercises for Increased Bone Strength

January 12, 2022

An estimated 10 million people in the United States have developed osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is characterized by chronic bone loss that leads to weak bones that fracture easily. Fractures of the spine, hip, and wrist are the most common. With the right steps and effective care, it’s possible to boost your bone health and lower your fracture risk.


Exercise increases your muscle mass which in turn can enhances your strength, muscle control, bal­ance and coordination. Good balance and coordination can mean the difference between falling, suffering a fracture or staying on your feet. Medical studies have proven that regular physical activity can reduce falls by nearly a third in older adults at high risk of falling.


This form of exer­cise challenges your muscles by working against resistance such as dumbbells and elastic bands. Resistance exercises including classic strength training or even using your own body weight to rely on muscle contractions that stimulate muscles to build up.


Weight bearing exer­cise are activities such as running, walking, dancing, hiking, climbing stairs, playing tennis, golf, or bas­ketball in which you carry your body weight and work against gravity. The force you exert to counteract gravity when you do weight bearing activities stimulates your bones to become stronger. This is in contrast to non-weightbearing activities such as swimming or cycling where the water or bicycle supports your body weight.


When you run, jog or power walk you mul­tiply the weight bearing effect of gravity. Higher impact activities have a more pro­nounced effect on your bones than lower impact exercises. Impact can be increased even more if your speed increases.


Changing direction benefits your bones. When researchers reviewed bone strength in the hips of athletes, they found that those who played sports such as soccer which involve rapid turns, start-and-stop actions had bone strength similar to those who did high impact sports like high jumpers, they all had greater bone density than long distance runners.


Balance exercises involves doing exercises that strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright, including legs and core. These types of exercises serve as a bone-protecting function that improves health, stability and helps to prevent falls.

Consult your specialist before starting any exercise program if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. In the meantime, think about what kind of activities you enjoy most. If you choose an exercise you enjoy, you’re more likely to stick with it over time. Regardless of age or gender it’s never too late to start exercising!

Reviewed by David T, Braun. MD

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