Why exercise is essential to bone health

Ingram Publishing

EVERY five minutes, someone in Australia is admitted to hospital with an osteoporotic fracture.

Two-thirds of women and one-third of men older than 60 will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture - and that number is set to increase.

So how can you help avoid suffering one of these fractures and reduce the risk of getting osteoporosis?

Most people know regular exercise helps with weight loss and weight maintenance and helps keep us fit and healthy.

Exercise is also essential for the health of our bones.

Regular weight-bearing exercise helps build bone mass in young people and helps maintain this strength through their adult years.

If you're not "young" anymore then the good news is it is never too late to start exercising.

Just like muscles, bones will deteriorate if they are not used regularly.

The best types of exercise for your bones are weight-bearing exercises that are moderate to high impact, and weight training.

The best types of exercise for your bones are weight-bearing exercises that are moderate to high impact, and weight training.

Some activities you could do include: strength training or resistance training, aerobics, dancing, jogging, tennis and brisk walking.

Simply stomping your feet can help improve bone strength.

Try doing that every day for a couple of minutes.

Resistance training isn't only lifting heavy weights.

Heavy weight training is discouraged for those with osteoporosis because lifting heavy weights incorrectly can crush the vertebrae.

That is one form of weight-bearing exercise, but you can also do resistance training using your body weight - like squats and push ups.

Using resistance bands will give you the same benefits of using heavy weights but will be gentle on your joints and there is no risk of dropping heavy dumbbells on your toes.

If you haven't exercised for some time or have any ongoing health problems, then you should consult your doctor before beginning any new activity.

An exercise program that includes activities that help improve posture and balance will help prevent falls and reduce the chance of an elderly person suffering bone fractures.

As well as exercise, you will need to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

This includes making sure your intake of calcium and vitamin D is sufficient, as both are required for building and maintaining bone mass.

Smoking and excessive alcohol intake can contribute to bone loss.


Leanne Shorter is a registered fitness trainer with Fitness Australia.

You can contact her through her website at

Topics:  fitness health weight loss

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