These exercises are good for building bone strength.
Whether you are trying to prevent osteoporosis or you already have the condition, exercise is one of the best ways to keep bones stronger and healthier. It also helps improve balance, flexibility, mobility and coordination so you’re less likely to fall, which can result in breaking a bone.
Weight-bearing exercises are some of the best exercises you can do to improve bone strength and may help prevent the development of osteoporosis or delay progression of the disease. Weight-bearing exercises include any type of aerobic activity you do on your feet. While performing the exercise, your bones have to work against gravity to support your weight. This helps increase bone density and makes bones stronger.
When it comes to weight-bearing exercises, some are low-impact, meaning they have less impact on your joints as your feet hit the ground. High-impact activities are harder on your joints. There are also exercises that fall in the middle.
Here are some weight-bearing exercises to choose from:
- Walking outdoors
- Walking on a treadmill
- Elliptical trainers
- Low-impact aerobics
- Stair climbing
- Running or jogging
- Jumping rope
- CrossFit, step aerobics or calisthenics
Other aerobic exercises, such as swimming and cycling, are good for your overall health but are not the best for strengthening bones since they are not weight-bearing. The same goes for exercises such as yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates and stretching. But since these activities improve muscle strength, balance and flexibility, they can make it less likely you’ll fall and are a great complement to weight-bearing exercises. They also provide cardiovascular benefits.
You don’t need to do high-impact activities in order to strengthen bones. As long as your bones are fighting against gravity to support your weight as you move, the activity will help strengthen them. Many people either cannot do high-impact exercise due to health conditions or prefer not to do it. Low- and moderate-impact exercise achieves the same purpose with less wear and tear on the joints. Low-impact exercise is also the best option for people new to exercise.
Of course, it is always best to check with a medical professional before starting any exercise program. This is especially true if you have osteoporosis or have any chronic health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes.
Keep in mind that not every type of exercise works for every person so although the suggestions listed here help strengthen bones, they are not suitable for everyone.
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Date Last Reviewed: March 14, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Dietary Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS