This Month In Body
  • Building Better Bones
    Along with calcium, vitamin D, and healthy lifestyle choices, exercise plays an important role in helping to build, strengthen, and maintain bone mass. While all exercise is good for you, some exercises are better than others when it comes to bone health. Read >>
  • Reach the Next Level
    A lot of people talk about reaching a plateau in their weight loss or fitness goals. Maybe you’re in the same place or want to avoid getting there. So what should you do? Read >>
  • Training Gone Virtual
    It’s understandable if you’re hesitant to meet with your trainer online. But before you write it off and let your fitness goals go down the tubes, here are a few reasons why you may want to give virtual training a try.  Read >>
  • Raising Active Kids
    Are your kids getting enough exercise? Probably not. Here's how to change that. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Building Better Bones

The best exercises for building stronger bones.

Why do you exercise? If you’re like most people, exercise is a way for you to lose or maintain weight, manage stress, or take care of your heart. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that there are many other perks to hitting the gym. One often-overlooked benefit of exercise is better bone health.

Until around age 30, bone mass continues to increase. After this point, however, you gradually begin to lose bone mass and density. Along with calcium, vitamin D, and healthy lifestyle choices, exercise plays an important role in helping to build, strengthen, and maintain bone mass. This is vital, as you don’t want to reach old age with brittle bones that are prone to fractures.

While all exercise is good for you, some exercises are better than others when it comes to bone health. Keep your bones strong and healthy with these exercises.

Weight Bearing

The best type of exercise for your bones are those that force you to bear weight. These movements require you to work against gravity while remaining upright. In other words, if you’re exercising on your feet, you’re doing weight-bearing exercises. Examples include basketball and tennis, jogging and hiking, and rock climbing and dancing.

Strength Training

Exercises that work against resistance via free weights, weight machines, elastic bands, or your bodyweight are also good for your bones. Strength training, also known as resistance training, is an excellent way to build and support strong bones. As your muscles contract, they pull on bone tissue, which stimulates growth. Work with your trainer to develop a safe and effective strength-training routine.

Impact

The more your body has to work against gravity, the more your bones benefit. This is one reason why high-impact exercises are good for your bones. Stress or strain placed on your bones during exercise is good since force stimulates new bone growth and fortification. If you’re in good health, find ways to engage in high-impact exercises that involve jumping or jolting. Running, step aerobics, jumping jacks, and plyometrics are great starters.

But if you already have weak bones or painful joints, be careful! Instead of jumping, you should focus on low-impact weight bearing exercises. While not as beneficial for your bones, they are still helpful. Instead of jumping around, get on the elliptical or stair-step machine, do some gardening, or go for a walk.

High Velocity

The faster you move, the more bones are stimulated to new growth. Hence why jogging is better for your bones than walking, dancing is better than gardening, and aerobics is better than stretching. Since high speeds aren’t always sustainable, incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your workouts. For this, you’ll alternate between low and high intensity exercises. As an added perk, HIIT helps you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.

Starts and Stops

As you design your workouts to build and strengthen bone, think about adding some sort of activity that makes you suddenly change direction. Like impact and velocity, fast turns and sudden starts and stops are good for bone health. This could include things like jumping exercises or playing tennis, basketball, or soccer.

Improve Balance

Flexibility and balance exercises aren’t meant to build or strengthen bone, but they help protect your bones from injury. With increased range of motion and improved balance, you’re less likely to suffer a fall and possibly break a bone. So incorporate a few minutes of full-body stretches and balance exercises into your workout routine. Yoga and Pilates are great options to increase your strength, flexibility, and balance.