Regular exercise plays a vital role in not only keeping us fit but also in improving our bone density. Bone density refers to the strength and resilience of your bones and this is important throughout your life. Research has shown that there are specific types of exercises that are better for bone health. This type of exercise is what we call strength training and weight-bearing exercise. Our bones become stronger when a certain amount of impact or extra strain is placed on them and the way to do this is with strength training. Strong bones mean less fractures and breaks and this is especially important as we grow older.
Prevention: We all know that prevention is better than cure. And because osteoporosis cannot be cured, it’s imperative that we all aim to prevent its onset. The best way to do this is through a diet rich in calcium and Vit D and strength exercise during childhood and adolescent years. This will help to prevent bone loss later in life.
What type of exercise:
1. Weight-bearing exercise – This simply means exercise in which you are putting load through your bones by standing. Examples of this can be ball sports, brisk walking, skipping, aerobics, dancing, gymnastics, tennis etc.
2. Progressive strength training – This is exercise done with weights and means that over time you will build upon your muscle strength, thus creating a healthy force through to your bones. The weights can be dumbbells, barbells, ankle strap weights, kettlebells, medicine balls – the list goes on! The key here is that the weight being lifted should be progressive, meaning don’t keep lifting the same weight for years. As your strength improves, gradually increase the weight being lifted.
How often: Research currently states that some form of strength or weight-bearing exercise should be done at least 3 days a week in order to get the benefit for your bone health.
So if you need help with devising a strength or weight-bearing exercise program, call us to make an appointment today!