How exercise builds strong, healthy bones

How exercise builds strong, healthy bones

You may not think your bones can change much, but just like your muscles, your bones grow stronger and weaker depending on how well you take care of them. Believe it or not, your bone health can actually start declining as early as your 30s, when your body starts losing more bone than it creates. When your body loses old bone faster than it creates new bone, osteoporosis sets in, making your bones weak, brittle and vulnerable to injury.

Osteoporosis is most prevalent in women over the age of 65 and men over the age of 70, but it's very hard to reverse, and the best way to fight it is by taking steps early in life to strengthen your bones. You can do this by getting plenty of calcium and potassium in your diet, making sure you're getting a daily dose of vitamin K and vitamin D, taking it easy on caffeine and alcohol and quitting smoking.

But did you know that exercise can also improve your bone density? Weight-bearing physical activity causes your body to form new bone tissue, making both your bones and your muscles stronger. 

What kinds of exercises keep your bones strongest? Try running, walking, jumping rope, stair-climbing and weight training. If you’re older, regularly doing these kinds of exercises makes it less likely you’ll experience a fall. All of these exercises should be performed on even ground to prevent other injuries.

Keep in mind that while activities like swimming and bicycling are excellent for your muscles, heart and overall health, they don't provide much bone-strengthening benefit because they're not weight-bearing.

If you have kids, you can help them start good bone-strengthening habits early. Children between the ages of two and five should play actively several times a day to keep their bones strong. Kids and teens between the ages of six and 17 should get at least one hour of physical activity a day.

If you'd like to learn more about your bone density and health, please contact a healthcare provider with Goshen Physicians to schedule an appointment. 

Posted: 3/22/2017 by Goshen Health
Filed under: exercise, fitness, fitness and exercise

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