12 Feb Bone Building Exercises: How to Increase Bone Density with Very Little Equipment
You have probably heard that fitness helps to increase bone density, but do you know how? Here’s how to increase bone density using fitness.
As you age your body’s manufacturing capabilities change. There are six essential compounds that your body stops making or makes at a much slower rate, that age us.
Perhaps none have so devastating an effect on our ability to function as those that lead to bone loss. By the time we’re 40, many of us are already headed towards Osteopenia, with bones weaker than normal but not quite at the easily broken stage of full osteoporosis.
There is good news here, however. You can learn how to increase bone density and reverse this downhill slide at any age. There are plenty of octogenarians with bones as strong as those in middle age. Here’s a step-by-step look at how to do it.
How to Increase Bone Density
Usually, to improve a health condition you need to attack it from both a diet (and supplement or medication) standpoint and an exercise standpoint. Building bone density is a little different.
It is recommended that you get enough protein and vegetables in your diet. Calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, and other dairies, as well as broccoli and cabbage, are highly recommended.
You need vitamin D to absorb the calcium you need to mineralize bones. A study that included more than 55,000 participants found that adding Vitamin D supplements to a diet did nothing to help increase bone density.
Instead, it’s recommended that you get your vitamin D naturally. Only 10-30 minutes of sun exposure on your face, arms, legs, and back twice a week will do the trick.
Build Density Through Exercise
To build more bone density, you don’t need to follow a particular diet. Food is definitely secondary to exercise in this case.
What you do need to do is work out in a particular way to build healthy bones. Mechanical loading, as it is medically known, is what makes one exercise better for building bone density than another. You need to put a certain amount of strain on the bone to maintain good skeletal health.
You don’t need to spend hours in a gym or thousands of dollars on specialized equipment. In fact, most of the best exercises to build bones require little or no time or equipment to do.
Here is a list of exercise types from the least to the highest intensity that will help you slow bone loss or build bone density.
As a bonus, we’re also going to share one exercise to stay away from. It can actually accelerate bone loss.
If you live a very sedentary life, working at a desk job fifty hours a week, or have suffered an illness or injury, Tai Chi may be an excellent way for you to begin working out. It has been shown to slow the rate of bone loss in post-menopausal women.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that focuses on movement and meditative breathing. Today it is practiced as a form of exercise consisting of a set sequence of movements done in a very long, slow fashion. There are several levels of Tai Chi including versions that can be done by someone sitting down.
Yoga is another practice that combines physical exercises, mental meditation, and breathing techniques to achieve inner spirituality. There are several variations that concentrate the practice on one or another facet.
In Western cultures, yoga has become synonymous with the exercises themselves. Movements like warrior pose and downward-facing dog are particularly good for building bone density as they put the needed amount of stress on leg and wrist muscles without too much risk of injury.
Pilates is very often performed along with yoga. It is a form of exercise that uses the body’s own weight as a form of resistance to build muscle and strength.
As you work to build core strength through Pilates moves, you also build spinal strength. You also build flexibility and balance, two things critical to avoiding falls and bone breaks as we age.
A good old-fashioned walk around the block can do your bones a lot of good. It also gets you some needed sunlight. You need to do a lot of walking, however, to do more than slow bone loss. Four to five hours per week is a minimum number to aim for.
Running, on the other hand, puts the strain on your bones that is needed to build density. Unfortunately, the repetitive and difficult nature of running puts strains on joints and muscles that may counteract that good. Moderation is key here.
Yes, additional “tools” are needed, but resistance, or strength training as it is also known, is the best method for building bones. The weights you use can be found in a gym, but free weights can be bought and used at home. You can also use “free” weights from cans of soup to buckets of paint or cat litter.
Low weights and lots of repetitions work, so do heavier weights with fewer, slower repetitions. What really counts with weight training is the ability to focus on certain muscle and skeletal areas. Wrist curls are a good example of working in an area that is prone to fracture later in life.
Jumping rope and jumping jacks are two great ways to build bone density. A sixteen-week study showed that jumping (the higher the better) improved bone mineral density in premenopausal women.
Dancing and Tennis are two other forms of exercise frequently cited as good for building bones. Like jumping, they include quick turns and use of the hip joints that improve flexibility and strength in the joint as well as muscle and bone.
Strong bones provide a strong foundation for everything we do. Balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance are all bi-products of the work we do when we exercise.
The hardest part of figuring out how to increase bone density is deciding how to get started. Then you need to know when to increase, or changeup, the type of exercising you’re doing to build on what you’ve done.
That’s where the experts at Garage Workout can help. They have an online personal training program that combines the personal level of help you need with the convenience of being able to work out at home on your schedule. Check them out today.