Do you remember your parents telling you to drink more milk to build strong bones?
If you’ve been relying only on calcium in food for bone health, you’ve been missing out on a key ingredient for strengthening bones and preventing osteoporosis – weight-bearing exercise.
Weight-bearing exercise is important for everyone, whether your bone density is normal or you have signs of osteoporosis.
How does weight-bearing exercise improve bone strength?
Weight-bearing exercise makes bones stronger by stimulating them, Marshfield Clinic physical therapist Monte Willkom said.
Building bone strength reduces the potential loss of bone density from osteoporosis later in life and the risk of breaking a bone. Doing weight-bearing exercises can help slow down the process of bone loss.
What is weight-bearing exercise?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to hit the gym and pump iron to get weight-bearing exercise.
Weight-bearing exercise is any type of activity that compresses the bones using the force of gravity, Willkom said.
Walking and jogging are two simple ways to add weight-bearing exercise to your day. Vary your exercise routine by trying these other types of weight-bearing exercise:
- Stair climbing.
- Step aerobics.
- Exercise classes or videos.
- Weight training with free weights or machines.
Exercises to build your bones
You don’t have to be in top physical shape to do weight-bearing exercises, Willkom said.
Start with low-impact exercise. Doing too much too soon can cause injury.
Here are some simple weight-bearing exercises you can do at home. Download and print this list for easy reference. The same basic exercises benefit people of all fitness levels and can be modified for your ability.