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There's No Easy Way Around It -- How Exercise Keeps Bones Strong

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Need one more reason to incorporate exercise into your life? How about strong bones? There really is no shortcut for diet and exercise--despite what you may hear on late-night TV. To maintain healthy bones, workouts don’t need to be too intense, and you don’t even have to do them daily. In fact, just three days a week should be enough.

To stave off osteoporosis, doctors recommend moderate, weight-bearing exercise. Translation: activities that make you move against gravity while staying upright. There are three different ways to incorporate this into your routine.

High-impact exercises include jogging, dancing (perhaps in front of the mirror?), jumping rope, and tennis. These exercises should be reserved for younger individuals, as they may lead to fractures or strains among older people.
Low-impact exercises include climbing stairs, walking, and elliptical machines, and should be fairly safe at any age.
Resistance and training exercises include lifting weights or using weight machines, and using elastic exercise bands.

No-impact workouts that don’t include any weight resistance may not directly impact bone strength, but they have other benefits that are part of a balanced workout regimen. Exercises like swimming and bicycling can boost cardiovascular health while yoga and tai chi improve balance, concentration and strength. One study found that tai chi reduces the risk of falling and potentially fracturing a bone by almost half.

As always, you should consult your doctor before starting any new fitness programs to make sure you’re in the clear.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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