Healthy Body, Healthy Bones

Bone health is often overlooked when it comes to planning our training regimes but bone health is just as important as having a healthy brain, heart, and muscles. By strengthening our bones we can help treat and prevent against osteoporosis while improving our coordination, balance and confidence in our physical ability.

In this weeks ‘Healit™ Self’, we look at how you can improve your bone health and the exercises you can do to strengthen and support your bones.

Ask the Experts:
As with all exercise, it is vital to consult with a personal trainer before embarking on your own regime. If you have osteoporosis or low bone mass, it is important to protect your bones by avoiding high-impact exercises and particularly those that flex, bend or twist.

Exercises for Healthy Bones:
The best exercises for building and maintaining strong bones are weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening activities.

Weight-bearing exercises are any activity that is performed standing up such as walking, running and dancing. When your feet and legs support your weight, your bones have to work harder which making them stronger.

Muscle-strengthening exercises are any activity that require your muscles to work harder than normal, like lifting weights. This type of resistance exercise works the tendons that attach muscle to bone, which in turn boosts bone strength.

High-impact Exercises:
For bone strength, long exercise sessions are not always necessary if you do brief bouts of high-impact exercise.

According to Sarah Leyland of the National Osteoporisis Society, “A few jolts are enough to stimulate the bone-strengthening process in the body. For example, running up 10 steps provides 10 jolts on the way up and 10 jolts on the way down. Do this five times a day and you have clocked 100 jolts, which is likely to produce a positive effect on bone strength.”

Low-impact Exercises:
If you have osteoporosis or fragile bones – regular physical activity can help to keep bones strong and reduce the risk of a fracture in the future.

Exercises such as body weight training, tai chi, walking and cross-fit machines are a great, low-impact way to support your bone health.

We are what we eat, but this might surprise you!
A seven-year study of 1,035 people found that those with diets high in animal and low in plant protein had an almost four times higher rate of bone loss and risk of hip fracture than those who consumed less animal protein and more plant protein (Sellmeyer et al., 2001).

A diet rich in plant and animal proteins, calcium and vitamin D is a must, while living a healthy lifestyle that omits tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption is key to healthy bones too.

So, remember, like all other aspects of health, exercise is only one part of having healthy bones. Take your bone health seriously, wrap up those joints, exercise, eat well and live beautifully.

“The struggle you experience today is giving you the strength you need for tomorrow…”