Exercises That Increase Bone Density
There are endless amount of reasons to exercise: it’s beneficial for your heart health, for your brain levels, to stay fit in size, just to name a few. But today, we’re going to introduce to you a reason that you might not yet have thought about, possibly because of your age or even because it hasn’t been brought up as an issue in your life (thankfully).
Exercise can actually help increase and help prevent complications that are often related to: bone density. The idea behind these exercises and how they affect the body in terms of bone density is that they make the bones STRONGER. To do this, you have to find those exercises that are weight-bearing, which means that you are actually putting stress on your bones. Though this might sound like a bad thing, it is a good thing in a controlled way and environment. The more you do this in practice, the stronger you will get.
Another benefit of these exercises is the fact that they help improve your overall balance and coordination. Most bone density related injuries occur not just because your bones just happen to break, they usually are related to some sort of fall or loss of balance. Performing these exercises and improving your balance and coordination can help reduce the risk of this happening.
Another bit of advice related to building your bone density is to know the science behind it. When we say that our bones react positively to stress, that means that there are certain reactions that occur when we do these activities. We won’t get into the specifics of it, but basically osteoblasts, these cells that are responsible for creating new bone, actually respond positively when they are under stress. When they react, they begin to create new bone that will make our bones generally stronger.
Before you grumble about having to sign up for a gym, here is where we stop you. That’s not necessary! Though gyms are great resources for classes, friendships, accountability, a trainer and equipment, you don’t specifically need to attend one to perform these exercises. Some of these exercises require nothing at all! There is no reason to NOT work on your bone and overall health!
Our advice to increasing your bone density:
Some of these tips, with of course the approval of your doctor (always talk to your doctor!), can be performed every day, even without the gym or equipment!
1. Walking down stairs.
Though it is tough to walk UP the stairs, walking down stairs creates more resistance where you need it the most. It also works on your balance and coordination. If you ever have hesitated before you tackle a staircase sans railing, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
2. Cycling with resistance
( going up on an incline if you are on a regular bike)
Cycling outdoors on your bike not only is great for your bones and muscles and amazing for fresh air, but it also works wonders on your coordination on balance. If you think this is a little bit risky in your situation, (ask a doctor first!), then stick to the ones indoors. (Or place a stationary bike outdoors!) But make sure to up the resistance a bit, to get some tension in those legs when you get them moving. The resistance, whether it’s caused by rotating that knob on your stationary bike or tackling that inclined street in your neighborhood, is key to targeting your bone strength.
3. Jumping Jacks
This is another great exercise that is great for your bones but doesn’t need any equipment. The pounding and weight bearing that you do when you perform jumping jacks is what creates that resistance for your bones and osteoblasts to start kicking in. If you don’t feel comfortable performing this exercise, there are modifications, for instance, a simple “step in, step out” works just as well. If this is also a bit of a bore to you, or you want to switch it up a bit, pick up a jump rope and have at it. There are so many different ways to jump rope as well. If you are living on any floor above the first, however, be a bit courteous to your downstairs neighbors and keep the jumping at three in the morning to a minimum.
Yes! You might not think this is exercise, but gardening is a fun and productive skill that will keep your joints, bones and body moving. Not only is it great for your health, (because it’s not like you can grow doughnuts or cookies). Growing fruits and veggies can also be great for your wallet. Give it a try, and who knows, you might just find your next favorite hobby!
5. Dancing or aerobics
Turn your radio on and get moving! Commit to doing this with a partner or on your own when no one is watching (if you’re the shy type), and watch as your body improves. There are also loads of dance classes, even community, FREE ones to go to, just to get moving. If you are app or technology savvy, or just know how to type in the search bar on Youtube, there are dance or aerobic classes you can follow along to from the comfort of your own home!
6. Walking, jogging, just moving!
Instead of just letting out the dog, take her for a walk or jog. If it’s not very challenging for you, with the approval of a doctor, you can add a light weight vest to increase the weight on your body. This simple act that you can perform every single day will do wonders in the end to your bones and to your body. Not only will your doctor and you be happy with the next results of your bone strength, but your dog will also be feeling extra loved (and extra worn out! Also a plus.).
Not only is this a fun, individual or pair sport, it can also help fuel your inner competitiveness. There’s a reason why all the moms participate on those adult tennis tournaments at the local country club. That and those young, cute tennis trainers.