Osteoporosis is very common in people over age fifty. It causes the bones to become brittle and prone to fractures and typically results from a lack of calcium or vitamin D. Doing certain exercises can help build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis. Here are some exercises to try out to build up bone strength. Before taking on a new exercise, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s right for you.
Weight-bearing exercises can be any activity where you are being supported by your legs or feet. This could be dancing, high-impact aerobics, hiking, jogging or running, jumping rope, stair climbing, or tennis. If you cannot do high-impact exercises, try using an elliptical training machine, doing low-impact aerobics, using a stair-stepping machine, or fast walking on a treadmill or outside. These weight-bearing exercises are helpful for building strong bones because as you put stress on your bones, they respond by building more cells.
Tai Chi helps build coordination and strength in your bones through slow movements and balance. Do this exercise for 45 minutes a day, five days a week to promote strong bones. A study in The Physician and Sportsmedicine found that women who did Tai Chi consistently for a year had a slower rate of bone loss by three-and-a-half times than those who didn’t do Tai Chi.
Yoga can build your bone health in your spine, hips, and wrists, which are the bones most vulnerable to fractures. There are a lot of different yoga poses that you can focus on to build strong bones in certain areas.
Lifting weights or using resistance bands will help build strong bones and muscle mass at the same time. You should be exercising every major muscle group once a week.
Doing everyday work in your garden can help to build strong bones. Carrying the watering can, picking up debris, and pulling weeds can all help you with bone strength. Be sure to keep your spine straight as most spinal fractures happen when bending over.
For those who already have bone thinning be sure to take these precautions:
- Be careful about exercises that could result in serious falls.
- If you have bone thinning in your spine, avoid back bending yoga poses and bending over – try to keep your spine straight when exercising.
- Check with your doctor about any medications you’re taking that could cause you to become unbalanced before you start exercising.
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