Exercise and bone health

It is important to try to find a type of exercise that you enjoy. This will make it easier for you to continue doing it. You need to exercise regularly to get the most benefit. Try not to push yourself too hard. Over time, you will be able to build up the amount of exercise you do.

Try to do all these different types of exercise:

  • Weight-bearing exercise – this type of exercise is very good for your bones. It includes activities such as walking, jogging, dancing and hiking.
  • Strength-building exercise – this type of exercise strengthens muscles, bones and joints. You can use hand weights, machines or elastic bands to do these exercises.
  • Exercises to improve balance and flexibility – flexible joints help you to stay supple and prevent injuries. Balance exercises also improve strength. You could start with simple stretches, or try yoga, tai chi, body balance or qi gong.

Speak to you doctor before starting a new exercise regime. They can give you advice about what is best to do in your situation.

Exercise

There are lots of different ways to exercise. It is best to find something you enjoy. This will make it easier for you to keep doing it. You need to exercise regularly to get the most benefit.

It is best to do the following types of exercise:

  • Activities that raises the heart rate for 30 minutes, five times a week. The 30 minutes could be made up of three 10-minute periods of activity. This type of aerobic activity strengthens the heart and lungs.
  • Physical activity that improves muscle strength at least two days a week.
  • Exercises to improve balance and co-ordination at least two days a week.

When exercising, do not push yourself too hard. At the end of an activity, you should feel warm and slightly out of breath, but not exhausted. With practice, you will soon find you are able to do more.

After starting out with light exercise and trying to increase my walking levels, I have now gone on to working out three times a week and love it!

Clare


Weight-bearing exercise

Exercise that is weight-bearing is particularly good for your bone health. Weight-bearing exercises include walking, jogging, skipping, climbing stairs, dancing and hiking. Swimming and cycling are good for your heart and lungs but are not weight-bearing.

Weight-bearing exercises can be high-impact or low-impact. Check with your doctor if you are not sure if it is okay for you to do high-impact exercises. If you have a high risk of fractures or you have had a fracture in the past, you may be advised to only do low-impact exercises.

High-impact exercises include:

  • jogging
  • hiking
  • skipping
  • racket sports like tennis
  • some types of dancing.

Low-impact exercises include:

  • walking (either outside or on a treadmill machine)
  • using an elliptical training machine or cross-training machine
  • low-impact aerobics
  • stair-step machines.


Strength-building exercises

These exercises make your muscles work harder than usual, against some form of resistance. They strengthen muscles, bones and joints. They may also improve your balance. You can do them with hand weights, machines or elastic bands.


Exercises to improve balance and flexibility

Having flexible joints helps you stay supple and prevent injuries and strains. Simple stretching exercises are a good way to start. It is best to do these stretches as a daily routine. They will only take you a few minutes.

Yoga, tai chi, pilates, body balance and qi gong are good for flexibility and balance. They can also help you relax and reduce stress. Balance exercises help increase strength as well as balance.

If you have osteoporosis or you have had a fracture in the past, avoid sudden movements or exercises where you bend forward and twist your waist. These movements can increase your risk of fractures in the spine.


Next steps

Back to Bone health

The bones

The bones have several functions in the body, including protecting your internal organs.