While exercises such as biking and swimming certainly offer many health benefits including increasing cardiovascular capacity, they do very little to strengthen bones.
Weight-bearing exercise, on the other hand, exerts pressure on the bones, which in turn, stimulates the flow of calcium into the skeleton or retains the minerals there.
There are two main types of weight-bearing exercise – resistance workouts (strength training and rowing) and impact workouts (running, walking, and some aerobic exercises). Research conducted at Washington University shows that after nine months of either resistance workouts or impact workouts, 27 previously sedentary women increased their overall bone density by about 2%. Only the impact exercisers showed an increase in the vulnerable region of the hip that fractures easily. Remember, for many people, bone mass peaks in their thirties so the importance of weight-bearing and impact workouts actually increases with age.
According to the NIH, some great bone building exercises also include:
- Playing Tennis
- Lifting Weights
- Climbing Stairs
Bone-building activity will not only improve your bone health, but it will also increase muscle strength, coordination, and balance, plus leads to better overall health.
Please note that if you currently have osteoporosis, please consult with your health care provider before attempting high impact exercises or exercises that can flex, bend or twist your bones.
If you are looking to expand your weight-bearing and resistance training, but an old or chronic muscle injury is holding you back, consider making an appointment with a Physical Therapist in order to correct and strengthen your weakened or sore muscles.