Don’t assume that the benefits of working out are limited to shedding off excess pounds, building more lean muscles or bolstering the cardiovascular system. Having your regular dose of exercise is also good for the bones.
Bones are actually living tissues in your body, which means they have to be nourished for optimum health, proper functioning and strength. The consumption of foods containing nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, phosphorous and protein is a great way to keep your bones in tip-top shape.
Exercising on a regular basis is also a wonderful way to keep the bones strong and healthy!
Just about any form of physical activity can be regarded as a work out for the bones. Your bones are constantly broken down and built up. You surely want to build it up more than break it down because, otherwise, problems concerning the bones such as fractures and osteoporosis may occur. By giving the bones the regular exercise they need, you are increasing their density — making them stronger and less susceptible to ending up fractured or developing osteoporosis.
Fractures and osteoporosis usually go hand in hand — especially among the elderly. According to the experts, about 50% of all women and 25% of all men above 50 years of age will suffer from fracture brought about by osteoporosis. It’s a good thing that exercising can significantly reduce the risk of having fractures due to osteoporosis.
As earlier mentioned, practically any form of physical activity can help in strengthening the bones. This is especially true if you opt for weight-bearing cardiovascular, muscle-strengthening and stretching exercises. Health and fitness authorities say working out at least thrice per week is recommendable, each session lasting anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes.
These forms of exercising can either be high-impact and low-impact, both of which help stimulate the bones but in varying intensities. Both high-impact and low-impact exercises are beneficial for the bones, although each one of them has its own set or pros and cons.
High-impact exercises are physical activities that jolt the skeletal system especially the spine, hips, knees and other weight-bearing joints. Some examples of high-impact exercises include running, jogging, jumping rope, tennis and dancing. So many contact sports can also be regarded as high-impact exercises, like basketball and soccer.
The good thing about high-impact exercises is they are excellent at boosting the bone density. So what’s the downside? Doing high-impact exercises leaves you at higher risk of getting injured. If you are susceptible to accidental falls or fractures, opting for this form of cardiovascular exercise may not be a good idea.
Luckily, low-impact exercises are also good at strengthening the bones. Some great examples of low-impact exercises include walking, biking, swimming, low-impact aerobics, water aerobics, step aerobics, golf, heavy gardening, and using the treadmill, elliptical trainer, rowing machine or stair climber at the gym. There are plenty of low-impact exercises available so it’s practically impossible for you to run out of ways to strengthen the bones if you want to dodge high-impact exercises.
It’s true that low-impact exercises are not as fantastic as high-impact exercises when it comes to jolting the skeletal system. However, doing them on a regular basis also works wonders. The nicest thing about low-impact exercises is they are a gentle way to boost the bone mass or density while keeping the risk of exercise-related injuries to a minimum.
Muscle-Strengthening and Stretching Exercises
Building lean muscles as well as improving your flexibility is also good for the bones. Having more muscles is like providing your bones with more support. On the other hand, doing stretching exercises helps in making your body more flexible and improving your balance, thus significantly reducing your risk of accidental falls and ending up with fractures.
Muscle-strengthening exercises involve workouts that require the use of free weights, resistance bands and various machines at the gym — all of which cause your muscles to work against gravity. Experts say that lifting enough weights is also very good at strengthening the bones. Other than helping to increase the density of bones, muscle-strengthening exercises are also good for building and maintaining lean muscles as well as speeding up the metabolism.
There are various stretching exercises that you may incorporate into your daily workout routine. They may be done before, during or after your preferred workout regimen. Stretching exercises are especially great for the elderly because they help in maintaining the flexibility of the joints and muscles, as well as improving their balance to prevent accidental falls.