Bone Health Prescription: Weight-Bearing Exercise

By Ann Lindemann, Senior Health Writer

We all know exercise is an important component of good health. But when it comes to bone health, not all exercise is created equal. Weight-bearing exercises are beneficial to preserve bone health and bone density. As you age, the structure and density of your bones is negatively affected, forming a weaker less mineral-dense bone. Weight bearing exercises can help to off-set this age-associated loss of bone structure and density. This is important as chronic loss of bone can result in the porous bone disease, osteoporosis, which increases the likelihood for brittle bones and debilitating fractures.

Weight-bearing exercise need not be humdrum. Here are five bone-benefiting exercises to spice up your routine.

Bone Health Prescription: Weight-Bearing Exercise

  1. Hiking: Expand your horizons as you increase bone density – especially in your hips. Looking for a more beneficial bone impact? Go for an extra hilly hike.
  2. Yoga: A study reported in Yoga Journal found an increase in bone mineral density in women who practiced yoga. Yoga can build bone health in hips, spine and wrists – the bones most vulnerable to fracture.
  3. Racquet Sports: Clutching that racquet, swinging at the ball and running around chasing wild balls are all good for your bones.
  4. Golf: Pass on the golf cart and you’ll get plenty of bone-benefits from shouldering the golf bag to swinging the big clubs. And when your ball gets lost in the rough and you have to track it down, don’t despair… consider it a great work-out for your hips and spine!
  5. Weight Lifting: The most common form of weight-bearing exercise is resistance training. To avoid injury, resistance training should be carefully executed with guidance from an experienced trainer.

Other weight-bearing exercises include kickboxing, step classes, dancing and additional forms of strength training. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.