Exercise is your best friend when it comes to bone health.
People are familiar with most of the benefits of exercise, such as muscle strengthing and endurance, reducing the risk for heart disease and stroke, and preventing obesity. Perhaps not as well understood is the importance of regular physical activity in building and maintaining healthy bones. Inactivity causes loss of bone!
Aging, along with certain diseases and medications, can cause bones to become very weak and fragile over time — a condition called osteoporosis.
It often occurs in women after menopause, and in men in older age. This bone-thinning disease puts people at a greater risk for broken bones, which can seriously limit mobility and independence.
We also tend to lose muscle as we age — a condition called sarcopenia. People who develop osteoporosis or sarcopenia are considered frail: more likely to fall and more likely to break a bone.
Exercise works on bones much like it works on muscles — it makes them stronger. Exercise is important for building strong bones when we are younger, and it is essential for maintaining bone strength when we are older. Because bone is living tissue, it changes over time in response to the forces placed upon it. When you exercise regularly, your bone adapts by building more bone and becoming denser. This improvement in bone requires good nutrition, including adequate calcium and Vitamin D.
Another benefit of exercise is that it improves balance and coordination. This becomes especially important as we get older because it helps to prevent falls and the broken bones that may result.
Regular physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones.