What is the best exercise for maintaining bone density?

As we age many of us are unfortunately faced with bone loss.Doctors often prescribe various medications or recommend supplements to help with this problem. Another frequent recommendation is exercise, but how do we know what type of exercise is most effective?

The best type of exercise for prevention of bone loss is that which is weight bearing. In other words if you are able,it is best to be on your feet rather than on a machine.For example, jumping or running which are high impact exercises are very effective whereas biking and swimming are not.Unfortunately what goes with osteoporosis is often advanced age. Therefore jumping and running might not be the best idea. However, exercises that are low impact are often appropriate, such as walking,hiking, or stair climbing.

Strength training is also highly recommended in the maintenance of bone density.Weight bearing exercises surrounding a bone will stimulate bone growth.Therefore, just about any type of strength training is effective. Areas that are commonly affected by osteoporosis include the lower spine, hip, and wrist. So examples of exercises that would be good for building bone density in those areas would be squats, lunges, chest presses, back extensions, or hip extensions.All of these exercises cause muscle to pull on bones in those areas of the body. Therefore stress is placed on these bones which stimulates bone growth.

Needless to say this will not make much of an impact if it is not done with a reasonable amount of frequency. The American College on Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week for most adults. The same guidelines would apply to someone looking to prevent bone loss. However, it is important to keep in mind that new bone growth is actually taking place during rest. Therefore make sure your workouts are adequately spaced apart. Studies continue to support the benefits of exercise on bone health, therefore it is a great way to be actively involved in improvement this important aspect of your body.

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