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Exercise for Bone Health

Jan 22, 2013

As if exercise weren't already AWESOME for heart health, blood sugar regulation, strength and endurance, it's now proven that it is a MUST for stengthening bones and avoid progressive osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Of course, if you've been sedentary you'll want to check with your doc before starting any exercise program. But, no matter what you need to get moving to strengthen your bones--even if (well, especially if!) you've been diagnosed with osteopenia or, worse, osteoporosis.

Weight-bearing exercise (i.e. walking, jogging, dancing, hiking) is a great way to incorporate movement. The actual bearing of your own weight strengthens your bones. Swimming and bike riding are not weight bearing. They are great exercises for heart health, but not for strengthening weak bones. A good goal would be to aim for 3 to 5 days a week of 45 minute weight bearing exercise sessions. With osteoporosis, however, you should shy away from high-impact exercise like running.

Resistance training, using weights or resistance bands, is a great way to incorporate exercise to prevent bone weakness. These exercise strengthen the muscles around the boens. It also stimulates bone growth by putting tension on the bones themselves. You'll want to do at least 2 days of resistance training per week.

Balance exercise and stretching tight muscles will help increase joint range of motion. Tai chi is a great form of exercise that focuses on balance and flexibility. Yoga is also a great option. Having better balance will make it less likely that you'll suffer from falls and will decrease your risk of injury from falls.

Postural stretching reinforces good posture and decreases stress on the back and hips. Stretching the muscles of the chest, shoulders and upper back are great for those that are hunched over a desk, for example.

Combined, all forms of exercise will help you prevent the progression of bone weakness, strengthen bones, and strengthen muscles around the bones. Plus, you'll gain the added benefits of movement and exercise--cardiovascular health, muscle strength, weight loss, and so on! If you have any questions regarding a program for strengthening your weak bones, give us a call anytime!

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