How Exercise Improves Bone Health

With time, bones tend to lose their densities and strength. Aging, along with natural conditions that cause bones to become weak & fragile over time. Bone-thinning diseases put people at the risk of broken bones, which restrict their mobility & independence. Physical activities help in building & maintaining bone health.

All forms of exercise keep your bones fit & reduce the risk of falling. Young men & women who work out regularly achieve higher peak bone mass compared to those who do not. In most people bone mass reaches its height in the third decade after that it starts declining. Natural bone loss can not only be slowed down but prevented with regular exercise

A regular workout is essential for developing bone strength. Bone contains living tissue, which changes and replaces over time. Exercising makes your bones denser and thicker. Your workout must be supplemented with good nutrition, that contains calcium & Vitamin D for better strength. Improvement in balance and body coordination is another benefit of exercising. Which is essentially important as you age.

Understanding the Bones

You might perceive your bones as solid & idle, but this isn’t true. Human bones are made up of active tissue which adapts and modifies with the strains & stress imposed by the physical activity. During childhood, when the bodies are growing and shaping themselves, regular physical activity— such as gymnastics, running, and jumping put force on bones, which stimulate the cells of bones to fortify themselves and help in improving bone structure, strength & density. It is the best time for developing bone strength. During this age, you must develop a skeleton structure that will last a lifetime.

In adults, a workout cannot increase bone density as it does in the kids, but it has moderate bone-building effects. A regular workout can help them in maintaining bone strength, which they lose naturally due to hormonal processes. Exercise also maintains your muscle mass that preserves & strengthen bone surrounding

How Regular Exercise Prevents Bone Loss

As we have mentioned earlier exercise plays a major role in preventing bone loss & maintaining skeletal health. Like the rest of your body tissues, bone tissues also get replaced. Constant bone remodeling happens in your body and it’s a lifelong process.

The mature bone structure gets replaced by a newer one. Osteoclasts cells cause breakdown & osteoblasts cells are responsible for remodeling. At a young age, new bones remove the old bone cell at a faster rate and that’s how we peak our one mass. Later with time, it loses bone mass at a faster rate than it’s created.

Exercise stimulates the bone-building stimulation of the osteoblasts cells. It is a very complicated mechanism and research is still going on for understanding it. But the simple answer is physical activity places stress on skeletal bone & stimulates remodeling.

1)   External bone loading stress/forces

Think of the compressive force placed on your bones due to the gravitational impact. Doing activities like standing, running & walking applies vertical compressional force to the bones of the leg in proportion to the body weight. Adding the modest “impact component” like landing from the step, jog stride, jump (high) is the greater compression force & will stimulate bone generation.

2)   Internal bone loading stress/forces

There are external forces placed on the bone from the contracting skeletal muscles. Pulling force is placed on the muscle-tendon attached to the bone & force exerted on the bone stimulates bone generation. Different forms of workout exercise generate different internal forces. Strength & resistance training generates the forces significantly. Exercise is the optimal strategic movement that makes the skeleton more resistant towards the fracture by:

  • Maximizing the gain of bone mineral density in your early life
  • Minimizing the bone loss after 40 due to natural hormonal changes and decline in the physical activity

Even if you have passed the skeletal bone mineral accumulating part of your life, you can still gain benefit by performing physically active. A healthy skeletal structure delays the effect of aging.

Exercising Tips

If you have certain health conditions like heart trouble, blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes or you are older than 40 consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. Your optimal goal should be performing at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Do not neglect your body, listen to what it tells you. By starting an exercise program, you might experience muscle soreness & discomfort in the beginning, but it won’t be extremely painful, and will probably go away in 48 hours.

If it remains for a long time it’s an indication that you are working harder than you should. Stop the workout if you feel any discomfort in your chest, and see a physician before your next session. Carry your water bottle, resistance band, personal in your gym bag.

If you suffer from any bone-related diseases ask your physician about activities that are safe for you. If you already have low bone mass, avoid activities that bend, flex or twist this will reduce the burden from your spine. Refrain from performing high-impact exercise this will lower the risk of bone fracture.

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Exercises that you should perform

  • Weight-bearing activities: These exercises include jogging, running, walking, dancing, swimming, stair climbing, and other high-impact sports activities like jumping, soccer, tennis, or squash. Practicing yoga also benefits bone health.
  • Resistance Workouts: Muscle building also benefits your bones. The stronger muscular fibers impose a pull on your bones when they undergo contractions, these contractions nudge the bone cells to do an action that will strengthen your bones. Moreover, the stronger the muscles are, the more likely your body will maintain its balance & reduce the risk of falling, which is the most common cause of fractures in elderly women.

In your resistance training, including the exercises which target your whole body rather than working out a certain muscle. Back-strengthening working out improves your posture & helps in supporting the spine. Resistance training comprises workouts that can be done almost anywhere and require minimal equipment that is compact, portable, and can be carried anywhere with you in your gym bag.

  • Stretching: Stretching actively engages your muscles and protects against falls, but for people who already suffer from arthritis or any muscular pain, stretching relieves it.
  • Strength Training: Your Internal bone loading forces are pronounced with strength training. High-intensity loads typically used in the strength work effectively for the stimulation of bone regeneration. That is why strength training is the core strategy for attaining and maintaining better bone health. If you have not incorporated strength training in your exercise routine we would recommend you to do it. There are various styles and programs, & approaches that you can get started with. Performing strength training two days a week is optimum.
  • Posture & Balance Training: Posture & balance training might not have a direct influence on your bone health but they play an integral role in preventing fractures especially for those who suffer from osteoporosis. With age, the human body tends to lose its balance which hinders its mobility. This training helps in maintaining muscle and bone strength that is essential for your spinal health & flexibility.

Children & young adults

From Childhood to early adulthood your skeleton grows. It’s the best time for building strong bones. They should perform vigorous-intensity activities which strengthen muscles & bones. Perform these activities at least 3 times a day. Do activities such as playing football, tennis, badminton, hockey, netball, squash, basketball, martial arts, trampolining, gymnastic skipping, bodyweight workouts & aerobic activities.

Adults over 35

For reducing natural bone loss that occurs after 3 decades, try doing a muscle-strengthening workout twice a week. Other suitable activities that adults should do are

  • brisk walking, moderate weightlifting, stair climbing, resistance workouts, cross-training machines, heavy gardening & moving loads.

Exercise plays a clear and significant role in maintaining and retaining your bone health. It is one of the primary components of, leading a healthy lifestyle, the other one in nutrition., What you eat directly influences your body. Your diet not only regulates the health & supplies fuel for your everyday activities but plays a major role in boosting the benefits of your workout. Nutrition and workout go hand in hand.

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