(Like you need more reasons to exercise:) WORKING OUT IS GOOD FOR YOUR BONES

March 31st, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Take a calcium supplement?  Worried about osteoporosis?  Want to improve the strength of your bones?  EXERCISE.

See this article: Exercise and Bone Strength by Mariana Shedden, M.S and Len Kravitz, Ph.D.

Your bones grow and strengthen in response to stress.  In order to impose stress on a bone and encourage increased bone mass and bone density, you need to intentionally overload your skeleton with specific exercises to impose a controlled stress on your bones so that your bones will grow stronger and denser in response to that stress.   You need to do weight-bearing activity.

Weight bearing activity is easy to accomplish in two main ways: through impact and through weight training. 

(Whenever you are aiming for overload it is critical you pay attention to your body.  Make sure you know proper form for weight training activities to prevent injury; please be smart about how you start your exercise program.  We all want you out there enjoying life for a long time.)

Assuming your joints are healthy, you need to add a little impact to your exercise routine in order to boost bone strength.  Swimming, bike riding, and low impact aerobics aren’t going to strengthen your bones.  Add impact in a smart way: start slow, learn about and listen to your body’s signals, back off when you need to, wear great shoes, find the right surface on which to pound.   Running, jumping, even brisk walking (and I mean out-of-breath and sweaty!) will help you overload your bones to encourage strength.

Another great way to impose controlled stress on your bones is weight training.  Best done when you aren’t sitting down (what bones does that strengthen), add enough weight to your skeleton that you have to exert effort to move—you are shooting for OVERLOAD in order to see marked improvement in bone strength.  If you know your grocery bags when loaded each weigh five pounds, be sure and do some squats with at least double that amount of weight.  Your body has big muscles (legs, back, butt, chest) and smaller muscles (triceps, shoulders, biceps) so make sure you load appropriately—bigger muscle groups can handle heavier weights.

When you are able to truly challenge your body you will be amazed at what it will do for you.

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