We all know that exercise is good for us. As a matter of fact it helps us lose weight, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke etc. But the importance of regular physical activity in building and maintaining healthy bones is not as well understood as it should be.
As a child exercise is important in making our bones bigger, stronger, and healthier. But when we hit old age, the bones automatically start becoming weak and fragile leading to condition called osteoporosis and ultimately fractures. That’s why keeping up with exercise as you age is important as it strengthens the muscles and, keep your bones strong — making them less likely to break by maintaining adequate bone strength.
Exercise that is good for your bones
There are various kinds of exercises. To make the exercise effective at keeping your bones strong, you need to combine:
- Weight bearing exercises with impact
- Muscle strengthening exercises
Weight bearing exercises with impact
These exercises include activities that make you move against gravity while you’re in upright posture. Weight bearing exercises with impact means adding an additional force or jolt through your skeleton while standing. These can be high impact or low impact.
Weight bearing exercises with high impact include dancing, high impact aerobics, hiking, jogging or running, jump roping, stair climbing and tennis etc.
Weight bearing exercises with low impact include brisk walking, marching, low impact aerobics, fast walk on a treadmill or using other elliptical training machines etc. Low impact exercises are an alternative to those who cannot do high impact exercises.
Muscle strengthening exercises
These exercises include activities that make you move your muscles against some resistance. These are also known as resistance exercises and these include weight lifting , using elastic exercise bands, using exercise machines , lifting your own body weight , functional movements such as rising on your toes etc. These exercises help build the muscles and make them strong. When your muscles are stronger, they pull harder meaning your bones are more likely to become strong.
Stretching is important as it increases the flexibility and increases the range of motion in your joints. It relieves muscle tension and pain we usually get after a vigorous activity or exercise. It includes yoga mainly, Pilates is also helpful to some extent.
Building your workout routine
A workout schedule or routine should not look like a burden to you instead you should enjoy doing it. The best exercise plan is the one where you can enjoy it and stick to it rather than just exhausting yourself after a vigorous exercise and later on not wanting to do it again as it stresses out your body. Ideally, you can start with short bursts of exercises or mini workouts. So if you don’t feel like doing it all in once, you can break your exercise plan into smaller pieces throughout a day. Take breaks in between exercises so that you don’t feel like you have drained yourself by working out. High impact activities are more stimulating and helpful to bones but you can still get some benefit by low impact activities. So start with low impact activities and once you get used to it, you can add high impact activities gradually to your workout plan.
Some other tips to make your bones strong
Apart from exercises, eating habits and the food you consume plays a very major role in building of your bones. In order to make your bones healthy and strong you need to take vegetables. They are great for your bones as they contain vitamin C which stimulates the production of bone forming cells. They also increase the bone mineral density. A high intake of green and yellow vegetables is associated with increased bone mineralization during childhood and maintenance of bone mass during adulthood or young age. Another important component of your food should be Calcium as it is the most important mineral for bone health and main constituent of bone. So take more calcium in the form of food or supplements whatever you like. Getting Vitamin D and K2 from food or supplements also help in protecting bone health.
Being physically active and exercising helps you in so many ways and is very unlikely to cause a broken or damaged bone. Exercise more, eat healthy and enjoy a youthful life.