Exercise is The Natural Way to Increase Bone Density
We hear a lot about exercises for your muscles, but the benefits of exercise for bones is often overlooked. Our bones grow in strength and density until we reach our mid-twenties. At that point our bone mineral density will slowly start to degrade and we will be at a continually growing risk for osteoporosis which can lead to fractures and breaks. In order to reach and maintain our optimum bone health throughout our lives, we need to perform load bearing and impact exercises that help our bones to stay strong. Research has shown that certain types of exercises will naturally cause you to increase your bone mineral density during the key bone formative years, and help maintain your bone mineral density during the declining years.
The Bone Formation Process
The process of creating new bone material is called ossification. Certain types of exercise place stress on the bone involved in the movement. Muscle pulls on the bone, your body works against gravity, and your feet impact the ground. This stimulates a process called ossification in the stressed area. In this process, cells called osteoblasts lay down cartilage and proteins that mineralizes over time strengthening the bone. The key is to place a progressive overload of stress on the bones. This means that the exercise must stress the bone more than normal activities do, and increase the stress over time.
The minimum strain required to stimulate bone density increase is more than the strain of regular daily activities, therefore we need to perform exercises. The types of exercise most effective for building strong bones are load bearing and impact exercises. Although exercises like swimming and cycling have other wonderful health benefits, they do not do much for your bones. Here are some great sample exercises that will give you the bone strength you need.
- Jumping, Jump rope
- Jogging, Running
Load bearing exercises
- Calisthenics (like pushups and chin-ups)
Remember that the most effective way to build bone strength is an overload stress. If you have been doing twenty pushups every day for six months and you don’t challenge your body further, then this is not going to do much to increase your bone density. It is best to include a variety of exercises and try to increase the number of pushups, the distance you run, the weight you lift, or whatever exercise you are performing. This will keep your body from getting used to one exercise in particular and you will experience continued results. If you are new to exercise or have fragile bones, discuss the best way you should exercise with your doctor first.
By starting a lifestyle of exercise when you are young you can actually increase your bone density to above normal levels and have exceptionally strong bones. The bones in the body do not actually finish the process of ossification until we are about twenty five years old. During this time the bones can be stimulated through exercise to add density and strength. By the time we reach our thirties we do not really increase our bone density much through exercise. However, this does not mean that we should stop exercising as we get older. On the contrary, exercise is especially important as we get older because as we age our bones tend to lose density. Exercise helps maintain the bone density we have. This will prevent many of the fragility fractures we would have otherwise experienced as we age.
Exercise plays an essential role in your bone health but it needs to be accompanied with a good diet and healthy habits to be effective. Foods rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K are the essential nutrients that healthy bones need. Here are some great healthy natural suggestions to keep you bones strong. Additional suppliments can help add to your diet as well.
- Leafy greens
So start your exercises for healthy bones now and reap the benefits for the rest of your life. Stick to a workout schedule that you can maintain. Remember, as you age your bone mineral density will start to decrease. If you work out for a month and then stop, then you will lose the bone density you were gaining or preserving. It takes discipline, dedication, and motivation, but the results are well worth the effort.