Bone is living tissue that responds to exercise. If you exercise regularly and eat healthy, you can help strengthen your bones.
Eating calcium-rich foods can help improve your bone health. And Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium. You can get these in the food you eat, and in dietary supplements. Talk to your doctor about how much calcium and Vitamin D you should consume on a daily basis.
Before you start any new physical fitness routine, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Weight-bearing exercise involves working against gravity. This is the best kind of exercise for strengthening your bones. Here are some examples of weight-bearing exercise.*
Strength training can directly affect your bones, to slow mineral loss. This includes using free weights, weight machines, resistance bands or water exercise.
Weight-bearing activities, like dancing and low-impact aerobics, work directly on the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine. Swimming and bicycling can be good for your muscles and cardiovascular system. Those activities aren't weight-bearing exercises, but they can benefit your overall health.
This simple, enjoyable exercise strengthens your legs and heart. Walking can also help improve your balance, making you less likely to fall. And you can do it on your own, or with a friend. Remember to maintain good walking posture:
- Hold your head high
- Keep your back and neck as straight as possible
- Keep your chin parallel to the ground
- Gently tighten your abdominal muscles
- Let your shoulders move freely and naturally
If there are additional types of exercise that you'd like to try, be sure to discuss them with your doctor first.
One more thing: don't forget to stretch before and after you exercise. A good stretch can increase flexibility, which can help with balance and posture. And stretching can be an enjoyable way to begin and end your workout. Be sure to keep your stretching gentle, and avoid bouncing.
*National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bones Diseases ~ National Resource Center