Part Two: What kind of exercise keeps our bones strong?

In Part One of the series on healthy bones, we discussed the long term effects of having weak bones - the 'silent disease' called osteoporosis. We briefly talked about what happens to our bones throughout the lifespan.  Part Two of the series will go into the finer details about what kind of exercise makes our bones strong during specific parts of the lifespan

Exercise for life

To continue having strong bones we need to think about using it or losing it! In order to keep our bones strong, we have to continue loading our bones with regular physical activity throughout our lives.

Childhood:

·       Research has shown that children who participate in moderate to high impact weigh bearing exercises have higher bone density compared to less active children. These kinds of exercises include hopping skipping and jumping. 

Adulthood

·       Research has found that a combination of progressive resistance training with a variety of moderate impact weight-bearing activities is most effective for increasing bone density or preventing the bone lass that occurs when we age.

·       Evidence shows that hip fractures have been found to be as much as 38-45% lower in adults who have been physically active in their daily life, compared to less active people.

Older Adults

·       After 75 years of age, further increases in bone loss occur in both men and women, especially from the hip. The risk of fracture increases as bone loss increases.

·       Exercise can help to maintain bone strength, increase muscle strength, balance and coordination which, in turn, can help to prevent falls.

What kind of exercise?

Specific types of exercise are important for improving bone strength. Bones can become stronger when a certain amount of impact or extra strain is placed on the bones. Exercises recommended for bone health include:

1.      Weight bearing aerobic exercise (exercise done on your feet)

For example, brisk walking, jogging and stair climbing

2.      Progressive resistance training (strength training that becomes more challenging over time)

3.      Moderate to high impact weight bearing exercise

For example, jumping, skipping, dancing, basketball and tennis

4.      Balance and mobility exercise

While not improving bone or muscle strength, these exercises can help to reduce falls. For example, standing on one leg or heel-to-toe walking.

What if I already have osteoporosis?

When you have osteoporosis, it is important to seek supervision from a qualified professional; in this case, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. They will guide you through an individualised exercise program with resistance training, balancing and mobility exercises that will reduce your risk of falls and increase your confidence. 

What if I have had a fracture?

Exercise is an important part of rehabilitation. After getting clearance from you GP, you should seek an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to provide a supervised, individualised and effective exercise program to help you improve your mobility.

Our Accredited Exercise Physiologists can help you at any stage of your life!

As we have mentioned above, improving bone health is important at all stages of your life. We are highly qualified professionals who can help you design and implement an exercise program specifically for you. Please contact us on 0419 287 631 or info@bblifestyleclinic.com.au.