exerciseUnderstanding the benefits

Let’s be clear: any exercise is good for the body.  But promoting good bone density specifically takes stress – the good kind – found in activities that result in impact to the bone.

“Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger,” says the Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, a service of the National Institutes of Health.  “The best exercise for your bones is the weight-bearing kind, which forces you to work against gravity. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing.”

Bones also respond to weight training exercises. Weigh training provides force through the contraction of muscles. When the muscles contract, they pull on the bone, causing additional stress that results in stimulating bone production and growth.

Advice for the sedentary, the aging and those with weakened bones

High impact exercise becomes more difficult the older we get, certainly.  And this is even more a concern for those who already have weakened bones, osteoarthritis, have mobility issues, or those who are trying start up an exercise program after years of being sedentary.  You never want to – forgive the blatant turn-of-phrase – jump – into a high-impact exercise program.  Any exercise routine needs to start gradually, include muscle strengthening and impact exercises and should not cause any pain.

I recommend a 3 phased graduated approach to increasing your bone strength, beginning with low impact, multidirectional exercises (marching, shallow stepping, walking), leading to increasingly higher impact activities (stair stepping, walking hills, supported jumping) and then full impact activities (jumping, hopping, running) only if you are able.  Weight training, along with balance training, are also important additions to any exercise routine.

Check out my bone building exercise progression.

Where I come in

Weather you’re just starting out or you’re just looking to “up your game” where it comes to bone health, as a physical therapist I can be of great benefit.  I can help guide you through a program of exercises that will increase strength, balance and endurance safely and effectively.

Keep surfing my website for more information about best approaches to building bone health.  To schedule an appointment with me, reach out to me at (703) 738-4230 or email me at susan@nurturedbones.com.

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