Increase your bone density with our three favorite weight-bearing exercises
Here’s a type of stress that’s good for your body. Increasing stress on your bones stimulates the production of cells called osteoblasts that build new bone.
This kind of beneficial stress comes from weight-bearing exercise. When your muscles pull against your bones the osteoblasts are stimulated. As a result, weight-bearing exercise three times a week for as little as 15-30 minutes a day can help to maintain or possibly increase your bone density. Research also suggests that weight-bearing exercise helps bones retain calcium.
We picked out some exercises that make the most of your time. These can all be done with minimal equipment and you can sneak them into your day in short bursts.
- Weight Lifting: Weight from an outside source adds more stress to your bones so pick up dumbbells or hit the machines at the gym! Most experts recommend performing six to eight reps slowly for the most bone building impact. If you can perform 15 reps, it’s time to move up to a heavier weight. Your body should be well supported so you have the strength to lift more.
- Dancing: Weight-bearing can also mean using your body’s own weight to pull the muscles. Dancing is a perfect activity since it can involve your whole body or isolate a few muscle/bone pairs. You can also adapt it to your fitness level. What’s more, dancing improves balance and coordination. The best way to prevent a fracture is to prevent a fall! Similar activities include gymnastics and Tai Chi.
- Plyometrics: These exercises repeatedly stretch and contract your muscles so your bones feel the stress at a rapid rate. Good examples of a plyometrics program include jumping jacks, hopping, climbing stairs and jumping rope. There are also DVDs available if you’re looking for a set routine. If your bones are especially brittle, avoid stress fractures by taking care not to come down too hard.
The above exercises stress your bones differently so try them all. Fitness was never meant to be a single minded pursuit. You should also be doing aerobic exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week to protect your cardiovascular heath.
It’s good to change your routine regularly – it strengthens dedication by preventing boredom. Results take time. At least one year-long study showed that older women who did high-intensity weight training two days per week subsequently increased their bone density by one percent. The group who did not exercise that year experienced bone density loss of 1.8 to 2.5 percent – more than double the other groups’ gain.
Don’t approach your weight-bearing workouts with an expiration date. Other studies have shown that once you stop doing weight-bearing exercises, your bone mass may quickly revert back to levels before your exercise program. Exercising for bone health should be a life-long commitment.
Building bone density is critical as you age so do all you can to support it. Supplementing your diet with Lyc-O-Mato also helps to support healthy bone density by helping to prevent free radicals from disrupting new bone growth.
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