Most of us are familiar with many of the benefits of exercise, such as improving muscle strength and endurance, reducing the risk for heart disease and preventing obesity. Perhaps not as familiar with the importance of regular physical activity in building and maintaining healthy bones.
Being physically active and doing exercise helps to keep bones strong and healthy throughout life. That’s because your bones are living tissues that get stronger when you use them. Exercise works on bones in the same way it works on muscles — it makes them stronger. This is the reason why exercising regularly is important for building strong bones when we are younger and essential for maintaining bone strength when we are older.
Exercises that are good for your bones.
Exercise variety is beneficial to your bones. This can easily be achieved with different movements, directions and speeds – for example: dancing. Short bursts of activity may be best, such as running followed by a jog, or jogging followed by a walk.
There are many different types of exercise and they all offer health benefits. The two types that are most effective for building strong bones are:
– Weight-bearing exercise with impact. This could be anyactivity you do on your feet that works your bones and muscles against gravity. When your feet and legs carry your body weight, more stress is placed on your bones, making your bones work harder. Weight-bearing exercise after young adulthood can help prevent further bone loss and strengthen bone1.
Some examples of this type of exercise can include: brisk walking and hiking, jogging, running, dancing, tennis, badminton, football, stair climbing and many more. Higher impact activities such as jogging, increase the weight on bones and provide more bone-strengthening benefits.
– Muscle strengthening exercises. During muscle strength-training activities, resistance is added to movement in order to make muscles work harder and with time, become stronger. Although resistance exercises focus on increasing muscle mass, they also put stress on bones. Common types of strength training include weight machines, free weights, and exercises (such as push-ups) that use your own body weight. Elastic bands can also be used to add resistance to exercises. Use the Nikken KenkoTherm® Wrist wrap to help support your muscle strengthening exercises. Its orthopaedic design provides the ideal combination of support and flexibility.
The UK’s National Health System – NHS recommends that adults aged 35 and over should aim to do muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week in order to reduce the rate of natural bone loss.2 Make sure to rest for a full day between strength sessions.
– Other Forms of Exercise. Another benefit of exercise is that it improves balance and coordination. This becomes especially important, as we get older because it helps to prevent falls and the broken bones that may result.
Non-impact exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, might not as effective for strengthening the bones, but they do provide flexibility and balance training benefits. Non-weight-bearing exercises, such as swimming or cycling might not increase bone density but are excellent choices to strengthen muscles as well as the heart and lungs. If you have a musculoskeletal health condition, such as arthritis, that prevents you from doing weight-bearing activities, these are good alternatives.
Good nutrition for healthy bones.
Because the bone is living tissue, it changes over time in response to the forces placed upon it. When you exercise regularly, your bone adapts by building more bone and becoming denser. This improvement in bone requires good nutrition, including adequate doses of calcium and Vitamin D.
If you eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of dairy, fish, fruits and vegetables, you should get enough of the nutrients you need every day, but if you’re not getting the recommended amount from food alone, you may need to complement your diet by taking multivitamins or supplements.
Nikken’s KENZEN® BDZ® is formulated specifically to help the body absorb calcium and contains a natural source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2 and other minerals, which play a role in bone development. Find out more about it here.
Take care of your bones. They play a big part in achieving Active Wellness!
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17th August 2020