According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the best ways to fight off the effects of osteoporosis is weight-bearing exercises that stress muscles and bones more than you normally do. The earlier that you develop these exercises into your daily routine, the better chance that you have of protecting your bones in your later years. These simple exercises for stronger bones are not too challenging and can actually be quite fun if you find different places and ways to incorporate them.
1. Strength Training
In studies conducted by the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases Resource Center, strength training provides adequate resistance that will improve your bones. Using a weight machine, lifting weights, resistance training, and calisthenics are all effective exercises for stronger bones. Whether using free weights or weight machines, by stressing a sequence of bones and muscles you will help to fight off certain bone diseases in your later years. Every few days you can focus your efforts on the arms, shoulders, legs, and back. Exercising at least twice a week will stimulate your bone growth.
2. Tai Chi
Although Tai Chi is primarily graceful slow movements, this unique form of exercise can build both strong bones and coordination. According to studies that were conducted by Physician and Sports Medicine, Tai Chi exercises conducted a half hour for five days a week showed patients had bone loss rates that were three times slower than those not taking part in the exercises. The one benefit of taking Tai Chi classes is that there are several different degrees of these exercises, so even beginners or the elderly can benefit from the positive effects.
It doesn’t matter your dancing experience or if you have two left feet, dancing is an exercise that will certainly have a huge positive impact on your bone health. Check to see if the local college is offering classes in rumba, foxtrot, salsa, samba, or the tango. By moving and shaking more than your hips, your heart will begin pumping faster and helping in the building of those strong bones. If these types of classes are not available, you can get the same benefits taking a step, aerobics, or kickboxing class.
4. Racket Sports
Paddle tennis, squash, and tennis are great ways to get the exercise you need to strengthen bones in the body. Each time you contact the ball with the racket, you are stressing the wrist, shoulder, arm, hips, legs, and spine. Take part in singles classes so that you get more involved during each session. This is one form of exercise where the more you run around chasing that ball, the better in terms of bone health. The more your weight is shifted and the feet absorb that impact, the stronger the bones in the legs will become.
A study that was released by the National Bone Health Alliance showed that patients who did yoga regularly saw an increase in bone mineral density in their spines. It didn’t matter if you were involved in the vigorous ashtanga or the slow-moving lyengar style yoga, it has the ability to help build stronger bones in the hips, wrists, and the spine. These are the bones in the body that are more susceptible to fracture as you get older. To work the larger bones in the body like the legs and hips, standing poses are more effective. The wrists, arms, and shoulders get more benefit from exercises like the downward dog pose. Yoga also helps to sharpen your balance, improve concentration, and prevent falls by increasing your coordination.
The impact of your feet hitting the ground during hiking combined with the work of weight-bearing will help to increase the bone density in your hips especially. According to the National Health Council, the steeper the hills you hike, the more impact on those bones and the bigger the benefits. The more impact that you feel on your feet, the more dense your bones will become. One of the biggest advantages to hiking is that you will never become bored of the same routine. Getting outside and becoming one with nature allows you to see different things each time you lace up your boots and go outside. Expanding your horizons and seeing new landscapes will certainly promote a healthier skeletal system.
7. Brisk Walking
Perhaps you are not in the physical shape to be able to hike, strength train, or do certain yoga poses, all is not lost. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, get up and start walking briskly if you want to improve your bone density. Every gym has plenty of treadmills available, or you put on your sneakers and just get outside and start walking around the block to start. Women especially will see huge bone density improvements by walking several times a week. One study that was conducted on female nurse showed that walking only four hours each week reduced their risk to hip fractures by over 40 percent. One added benefit to walking is that you strengthen the muscles that surround these bones and help to lessen the likelihood of a fracture from a fall as you age. Brisk walking can be done on a treadmill or just step outside and find some new locations to explore.
When it comes to exercises for stronger bones, age certainly is an important factor. When you are younger you can push harder and enjoy stronger bones as you age. When you are already in your 40s or 50s or older, you need to find routines that will strengthen the bones without putting you at risk of injury. Regardless your age, be patient with the process because even in young adults it will take several months or longer for the effects to occur. Those who already suffer from osteoporosis will take even longer to see positive results on bone density tests, just know that you are headed in the right direction towards optimal bone health. The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that bones change slowly, but they definitely do change. Find exercises that keep you motivated and are not putting you at risk of injury, then keep it up and you’ll see results before you realize it.