Exercise is helpful to more than just your heart, lungs and muscles. Physical activity is one of the best ways to keep your bones healthy, no matter what age you are. Just as muscle is, bone is living tissue which responds to exercise by developing strength. Young women as well as men who make regular exercise a habit generally attain greater peak bone mass (in other words, maximum bone density and strength) as opposed to those who do not.
Why do you want peak bone mass?
“The amount of bone tissue which is found in the skeleton,” says Marc Schneider: chief operations officer at Trifocus Fitness Academy, “is known as bone mass. It can keep growing until a person is in their the late 20s. At this point in time, bones have reached their maximum strength as well as density. This is known as ‘peak bone mass’.”
Women have a tendency to experience a slight change in total bone mass between 30 and menopause. However, in the first couple of years after menopause many women go through quick bone loss which is a “withdrawal” from the bone bank account. This withdrawal then slows however it continues throughout the postmenopausal years which could lead to osteoporosis.
For a lot of people, bone mass spikes during the third decade of life – in other words, during their 30s. After this point, as mentioned previously, it is possible that we can begin to lose bone. Women, as well as men who are older than 20, can help avoid bone loss with regularly exercising as this can also help people maintain muscle strength, coordination as well as balance. This, in turn, helps to prevent falls in addition to related fractures. Preventing this from occurring is especially important for older adults and individuals who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Exercises to improve bone health
Weight-bearing exercises can help to improve bone health. These types of exercises include actions that make you push against gravity while remaining upright. Weight-bearing exercises can be classified as ‘high-impact’ or ‘low-impact”:
High-impact weight-bearing exercises assist with building bones and keeping them strong.
Examples of high-impact weight-bearing exercises are the following:
- High-impact aerobics,
- Skipping, and
- Climbing stairs.
Low-impact weight-bearing exercises can also assist you with keeping your bones strong. In addition, they are a safe alternative if you are not able to do high-impact exercises.
Examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercises are the following:
- Utilising elliptical training machines,
- Low-impact aerobics,
- Making use of stair-step machines, and
- Walking quickly on a treadmill or outside.
Muscle-strengthening exercises can also help you to increase bone density. These exercises include movements where you move your body, a weight or – alternatively – some other resistance against gravity. They are also known by the name ‘resistance exercises’.
- Using therabands,
- Weight machines,
- Lifting your own body weight, and
- Functional movements, such as standing as well as rising up on your toes
Yoga, as well as Pilates, can also improve strength, balance in addition to flexibility. However, certain postures may not be safe for people with osteoporosis or those who have an increased risk of broken bones. For example, movements which have you bending forward may increase the chance of breaking a bone in the spine.
Movements to improve joint health
Range of motion (R.O.M) exercises are particularly useful for improving joint health. Active R.O.M exercises assist with improving joint function and help keep your joints flexible, reduce pain, and improve balance as well as strength.
Here are some R.O.M exercise that work your neck. Begin seated or standing. Face forward and make sure that your shoulders are straight as well as relaxed.
- Forward and backwards head tilts: Gently bow your head and attempt to touch your chin to your chest. Raise your chin back to your starting position. Tilt your head back, as far as you can, so that you are looking up at the ceiling. Return your head to your starting position.
- Side-to-side head tilts: Tilt your head to the side and bring your ear toward your shoulder. Do not raise your shoulder to your ear. Keep your shoulder still. Return your head to the starting position.
- Head turns: Turn your head to look over your shoulder. Tilt your chin down and try to touch it to your shoulder. Do not raise your shoulder to your chin. Face forward again.
To discover how you can learn more about other exercises to improve joint and bone health, please follow this link.