Guest blogger: Dr. Angela Wicker-Ramos PT, DPT, CLT-LANA. Angela is the owner and lead physical therapist at Cancer Rehab Austin.
A person’s bone mass peaks during the third decade of life. But do not let this information get you down, because there are ways to strengthen your bones at any age. Bones become stronger with exercise by stimulating your bones to form new tissue.
There are three ways exercise helps improve your bone density:
- Strengthening exercises such as weights cause your muscles to pull on the bone that they are attached to. This stimulates bone growth.
- Weight-bearing exercises stimulate bone growth through impact. This brings in new bone cells and strengthens the bone.
- Exercise also helps decrease risk for falls by improving strength, coordination and balance.
Exercise and Bone Health
The best exercises to promote bone health are weight-bearing exercises, which are exercises that work against gravity.
Bone health can be improved by either high impact or low impact exercise. If you have osteopenia, osteoporosis or pain it is recommended you perform LOW impact exercises.
Examples of LOW impact exercises include:
- Elliptical machines
- Low-impact aerobics
- Stair-step machines
- Fast walking on a treadmill or outside
- Doing high-impact aerobics
- Jumping Rope
- Stair climbing
How often should you perform weight-bearing exercises in order to improve your bone density?
A study by Kemmler in 2014 reports that weight-bearing exercises should be performed 3x per week to impact bone growth. However, remember that any amount of exercise you perform is beneficial for your health. So start gentle and work your way up. Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body, mind and spirit.
*If you have osteopenia, osteoporosis or pain, be sure to inform your yoga instructor of your condition prior to practicing.