Exercise benefits for osteoporosis

Following a structured exercise programme is a key factor in osteoporosis prevention. Ideally, look to build up bone mass before the age of 35 and then maintain activity levels thereafter.

However, studies have shown that correctly prescribed exercise can significantly help and offset osteoporosis at any age. Your training should fall into two separate categories:

1) Impact activities
2) Resistance training

To maximise your anti-osteoporosis training benefits, it is important to include both types of exercise in your training sessions.

Impact activities and exercises

Any form of exercise where you are supporting your own bodyweight, contributes to bone strength. The impact of activities like walking, jogging, racket sports such as tennis, squash etc. stimulates your bones to develop a thicker, stronger, structure and hence the likelihood of fractures is reduced. Conversely, activities where you are sitting down or your weight is supported, such as swimming (although an excellent aerobic exercise), do not build bone strength. For maximum benefits, carry out impact activities at least three times per week for a minimum of 20 minutes at a time.

Impact activities for bone strength Low impact activities (less suitable for bone strength)
Walking Swimming
Jogging Rowing
Running Cycling
Skipping Hand cycling
Aerobics classes Yoga
Sports such as tennis, squash, badminton, etc. Cross-trainers

Resistance training

Lifting weights is the other key factor in preventing osteoporosis. Consider the physiology of what happens when you lift a weight:

Muscles are attached to tendons, which are attached to the bones of your skeleton.
A muscle or muscles contract.
The muscle contraction pulls on tendons.
The tendons pull on bones to achieve the desired movement.

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