Published on March 25, 2014
As we age, we loose bone density and muscle mass, which unfortunately can be detrimental to our health and well-being. Preventing this loss by building stronger bones can be done with proper exercise which loads our musculoskeletal system, good nutrition, and proper recover time for our bodies. When we exercise, we build stronger bones as calcium is deposited to the areas where the tissues are being loaded. Therefore, it is very important to place emphasis on doing daily weight bearing exercises, which stimulates bone and muscle growth and helps prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis. These are two conditions that cause weakening of the bone.
Research shows that it is imperative to do strength-training exercises at least twice per week to maintain strong and healthy bones. This allows your musculoskeletal system to adapt to the increases in stress from these exercises. The muscles, which attach and pull on the bone, cause the body to send signals to those areas to increase the bone mineral density. This can result in large improvements in bone strength, as new bone formation occurs to the bone surfaces.
In general, exercise, especially weight training exercises, allows calcium and magnesium to be better absorbed by the bone. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, and never put stress onto the bones, the body assumes there is no need to maintain proper bone mineral content and they become weak and brittle. The type, frequency, mode and length of exercise sessions are critical to making a real difference with respect to helping reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Losing weight in a healthy manner is also important, especially with women to maintain healthy bone density. Dropping weight too quickly, or through unsafe methods, can actually increase the risk of osteoporosis and other health problems.
It is recommended that you start slowly with your weight-training program. Body weight exercises should be done first and the progressions should be to add weights and increase the amount of repetitions and sets. 8-12 repetitions with weight have been shown to be ideal for creating bone and muscle strength. Utilizing jumping exercises, such as jumping jacks, hops, and skipping will help stimulate bone growth and regenerate muscle tissue. It is safe to increase the weight and intensity of your program by approximately 10% per week.
Please see below a strength program that can be utilized. Try this program twice per week. Always check with your family doctor and health care providers prior to implementing this program.
Bone Strength Training Program:
- Walking lunges – 10-12 per leg
- Body weight squats – 12 repetitions
- Pushups – 10 repetitions (can modify and use knees if needed – lead with chest and keep proper postural alignment)
- Hops – 20 repetitions
- Cross Crawl – all fours raising opposite arm and leg – 5 per side
- Single leg squats – 10 per leg
- Single foot hops – 10 per leg
- Plank – 30 seconds
- Side Plank – 15 seconds
- Jumping Jacks – 20
Try to alternate days in between strength training with minimum 30 minutes of walking, hiking, stair climbing, etc. to achieve weight bearing cardiovascular exercise.
Taken from: http://www.osteoporosis.ca/