How To Keep Your Bones Strong Through Exercise!

Sep 5, 2022 | Uncategorized

How to keep your bones strong through exercise!

This week I am talking about weight-bearing and resistance exercise and the benefits it can have on our bone health long term.

I have been a gym goer since I was 15 years old, and when I was in my late teens to early twenties, I used to mostly stick to cardio work such as running on the treadmill and using the cross trainer, some machine weights and sit-ups! Which I wouldn’t dream of doing now. I used to watch others in the gym lifting heavier weights and couldn’t understand why they would spend most of their time doing this, rather than doing an hour of cardio. I also avoided the weights because I assumed that if I lifted heavier weights, I would end up looking ‘too muscular’.

However, over time my views on exercise and the use of weights have changed dramatically because I now have an understanding of how our body works underneath the surface and the benefits strength training can have. So, I’ll share some information with you today in the hope that it may be of help to you regardless of your age.

So here are some fun facts for you:

Did you know our bones are living tissues, like our muscles and skin? Our bones are constantly remodelling, with cells working hard to build them up, and other cells purposely reduce the tissue around them. When we reach our 30s, we reach our peak bone mass, which means that after this time our bone mass density starts to reduce. Harvard Medical School suggests that after the age of 40, our bone mass reduces by 1% per year.

This is where weight-bearing and resistance exercise comes into play, and the good news is, that it can help to slow down the reduction of bone mass significantly, and some studies have shown it can help to build the bone back up. When we lift weights or do resistance training, it causes your muscles attached to the bones to pull which puts stress on the bone and encourages the cells that build your bone up to work. Over time, this can really assist with bone density and reduce the risk of developing issues such as osteoporosis.

You may be wondering what sort of things to focus on, so here are some activities that have been shown to help.

Activities that force you to work against gravity such as:

– Walking at a quick pace
– Jogging
– Walking uphill/climbing the stairs
– Tennis
– Dancing

Movements that involve resistance such as:

– Lifting weights 

– Resistance band work
– Bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, squats etc.

If you are not a member of a gym don’t worry. You will see above that many of the movements here can be done at home or outside and can be incorporated simply.

Here are some ideas; Choosing the stairs over the escalator when out shopping, standing up from your desk throughout your day to walk up and down the stairs, putting on your favourite songs and dancing in your kitchen, or using some tins to add resistance and do an arm exercises workout. There are plenty of free workout ideas online and in apps to get you motivated.

Try and include at least 30 minutes of intentional exercise a day and incorporate both weight-bearing/resistance exercise as well as exercise that will get your heart rate up such as swimming, cycling or walking.

When it comes to weight-bearing exercises such as walking or jogging, bear in mind that this will be working your lower bones and joints. So be sure to include some exercise that will put ‘stress’ through your upper body too.

If you need any tailored advice when it comes to this topic, please get in touch directly and I will be happy to help or consult with your local GP.

Have an amazing week.

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