The sedentary lifestyle does not help us to build bone density. We must keep moving on a daily basis and perform different types of exercises to maintain and enhance it. This activity can’t be done for us or to us. Proper nutrition, supplements and medications don’t work as well in isolation apart from exercise. We must do both weight-bearing exercises and walking in addition to these to build bone density.
Almost any form of exercise appears to stimulate osteocytes. Exercise also improves the production of bone without affecting the rate of reabsorption. Some rigorous exercise is needed for the creation and retention of strong bones. According to Dr. Loren Fishman, “A bone will develop reinforcement to counter the stresses and strains that it undergoes.” The following are the types of exercise that help to build bone density:
- Strength Training and Weight Lifting – Studies show that both strength training and weight lifting help promote new bone growth and maintain the existing bone structure. Benefits include an increase in bone mineral density and bone size, reduced inflammation, protection against bone loss, and an increase in muscle mass. You should be exercising all muscle groups two to three times a week. If you have declining bone density due to age or cancer treatments, ask your doctor for a referral to a physical therapist who can design exercises for your particular situation. And if you are already in the osteoporosis range, it’s wise not to do any exercises without the input of a physical therapist. I learned the value of a PT or OT during my cancer journey.
- Walking Daily – There is no overall exercise better for the body than just plain walking. It has helped my hips to maintain bone density through chemo and estrogen blocking pills over the past five years. That is a victory! Why, because I walk two to three miles a day. I literally walked throughout my entire cancer journey from surgery to chemo to five years of estrogen-blocking medication (that includes as a side effect decreasing bone density). It’s my way of fighting back! But I must warn you, walking did nothing to improve or maintain the bone density in my spine. That’s why I advise a consult with a PT.
- Stability Ball – One of the simplest ways to build bone density is to simply sit on a 65 to 75 cm stability ball and bounce up and down while holding your core firm.
- Vibration Platform or Power Plate or Rebounder – The astronauts used a vibration platform known as a power plate to build bone density before and after going into space. But whether you invest in a platform or rebounder, the vibration or up and down pounding helps to build bone density. I actually hold simple Yoga poses while on my power plate.
5. Yoga – The actual Yoga stretches and poses do more than most people think. According to Dr. Loren Fishman, a rehabilitation medical doctor, “Yoga poses actually stress the bones which promotes new bone growth.” I highly recommend his book, Yoga for Osteoporosis. He actually shows you the exercises that prevent osteoporosis. I also consulted with an expert Yoga instructor and had her design a workout for preventing osteoporosis. And it worked!
Here are some bone density exercises I found on the internet.
But it is best to connect with a physical or occupational therapist who can design the exercises for your particular circumstances. Then, they can actually watch you to make sure you are doing it correctly. It takes several different types of exercise to build bone density.
You know you are getting older when you are on a first name basis with your physical or occupational therapist. How many of you like me can say this? What problem is your OT or PT helping you to solve?
Next blog, we’ll look at the nutrients and micronutrients that help us to build strong bones.
For Your Health,