Exercising for Bone Health
What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition in which our bones lose density and become fragile. It can be prevented through exercise and regular physical activity. Exercise is vital at any age for healthy bones, and it is especially important to exercise as we age in order to maintain bone density.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 10 million adults in the U.S. have osteoporosis. In females, the incidence of osteoporosis is greater than heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined. The incidence of osteoporosis in males is greater than that of prostate cancer.
Why is Exercise Important for Bone Health?
Most of us are familiar with the benefits of exercising to reduce the risk of heart disease. It is also important to be aware of the benefits of physical activity to maintain healthy bones. Weak bones break easily, and as we age, the risks of fractures increase. One strategy to counteract this tendency is to eat a healthy diet that includes calcium and vitamin D.
Ideally, to prevent osteoporosis, we build bone density relatively early in life — developing peak bone mass between ages 25-30. After age 30, we break bone down at a faster rate than we build it. However, it is still vitally important to do the strength-training and weight-bearing exercises described below after age 30, to build peak bone mass and maintain bone strength throughout our lifetimes.
Recommended Exercises for Optimal Bone Health
The best exercises to build and maintain bone density are “weight-bearing” and “strength-training.”
Weight-bearing exercises include activities where you are on your feet resisting gravity with your entire body, such as:
Running or jogging
Strength-training involves movement resistance, forcing your body to work harder, such as:
Using weight machines
The Preventative Benefits of Good Bone Health
Our bones provide support and balance for our bodies. They are the framework for our muscles and form a protective barrier for our internal organs. Healthy bones allow us to have an active lifestyle, making us feel strong and vigorous.
As Amy Porter, executive director and CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, emphasizes: “We know osteoporosis causes two million broken bones every year in the U.S., yet the majority of Americans don’t realize how important their bone health is until they have a debilitating fracture.”
Our team at Virginia Orthopaedic is glad to answer your questions about bone health and treating osteoporosis. We also perform joint replacement procedures, which are indicated when damage has occurred to a joint from degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis or a fracture, and we consider each patient’s bone quality in choosing the proper implant design for his or her case. Please contact us at Virginia Orthopaedic at (540) 444-4020 or request an appointment online.