Bone health is very important to our overall health as we age. Our bones are the scaffolding that support and shield our organs, enabling us to move, to live an active life.
Our bones are constantly regenerating throughout our lives, with old bone tissue being replaced by new. As we age, the new bone we generate can be less dense and less strong, a condition known as osteoporosis. Our bones can become brittle and prone to fractures which can have a very detrimental impact on our quality of life.
Exercise and Bone Health
The good news is that regular physical activity can help maintain and improve bone density. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises are particularly effective in stimulating bone growth and strengthening existing bone tissue. These exercises help to increase bone mineral density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures.
Exercise that you should try to include in your daily activities include:
a. Walking: Just putting one foot in front of the other can do wonders for your bone health. Walking is a low-impact exercise that helps to load your bones and stimulate bone growth. Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking most days of the week.
b. Jogging and Running: If your fitness level allows, jogging and running provide even more significant impact on your bones. Be sure to wear proper footwear and maintain good form to prevent injury.
c. Dancing: Whether it's ballroom, hip-hop, disco or ballet, if you enjoy it, dancing is a great way to build bone strength while having some fun.
d. Stair Climbing: Climbing stairs is an excellent weight-bearing exercise that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine.
a. Strength Training: Using weights or resistance bands can help build muscle, which in turn supports your bones. Exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts are particularly effective for bone health.
b. Bodyweight Exercises: Push-ups, planks, and yoga are examples of bodyweight exercises that engage multiple muscle groups and help improve bone density.
Balance and Flexibility Exercises:
a. Yoga and Tai Chi: These practices promote balance and flexibility, which can reduce the risk of falls and fractures, especially in older adults.
High-Impact Exercises (with Caution):
a. Jumping: Activities like jumping jacks or jumping rope can be high-impact and beneficial for bones, but they should be approached with caution, especially if you have joint issues. Consult a fitness professional if you're unsure.
a. Swimming: While swimming is not a weight-bearing exercise, it's an excellent option for people with joint problems. Consider incorporating aquatic activities into your routine to improve overall fitness and bone health.
Taking care of your bones pays dividends as you get older so ensuring you engage in exercise that supports bone health all your life is key. By engaging in a variety of weight-bearing, resistance, balance and flexibility exercises, you can improve bone density, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and enjoy a more active and fulfilling life. Remember to consult with your GP or fitness expert before starting a new exercise programme, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or concerns about your bone health. Look after your bones and they will continue to support you throughout your days.