This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.
Tips for Better Bone Building, Part 13: Exercise
Exercise is beneficial to bone health. “Use it or lose it” applies here – bones respond to loading and will increase their structural strength to meet gradually increasing demands. But, if never challenged, the failure point at which a bone will break instead of bend decreases, increasing the chances of incurring a spontaneous fracture.
The proof is in the data – volumes of it. For example, participation in regular physical activity more than ten hours a week cuts the chances of a man breaking a hip about in half. Women who exercise regularly have denser bones and less risk of developing osteoporosis. The degree of benefit depends on the duration and intensity of the activity – from the bones’ points of view. The more the activity requires your skeleton to bear weight, the better. Weight-lifting is better than gymnastics, gymnastics is better than running, running is better than swimming and swimming beats sitting around.
There may be a fringe benefit to all this exercise. According to the results of a study published recently in Europa Medicophysica, regular controlled exercise improves spinal stability and decreases chronic low back pain.24
Enhancing bone health and structure requires a fundamental approach to establish habits that include several elements of a healthy skeletal support system. This approach encompasses dietary habits such as ensuring adequate protein intake, healthy amounts of calcium, and decreasing alcoholic and high phosphorus beverages, lifestyle approaches such as weight-bearing exercise, and smart supplementation with bone-building vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. By providing the bones with the building blocks they crave, you can ensure the structural support system of the body will remain stronger – longer.
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24. Celestini M, Marchese A, Serenelli A, Graziani G. A randomized controlled trial on the efficacy of physical exercise in patients braced for instability of the lumbar spine. Eura Medicophys 2005;41:223-231.