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Exercising for Bone Health

07 Jan, 2017

Why Is Exercise Important for Bone Health?
Bone health follows the old adage “Use it or lose it”.  Stressing bone through activity and exercise encourages it to increase its calcium content and grow stronger and denser. A sedentary lifestyle has the opposite effect on bones.  Inactivity causes the bone to lose calcium and get weaker.

What Exercises Are Best for Good Bone Health?
Any exercise is good because all exercise causes the muscles to contract against the bones, which stresses, or stimulates, them.  So-called weightbearing exercises are the best for bone because both muscles and gravity stress the bones.
A few good examples of weightbearing exercises include walking or hiking, running or jogging, aerobics, household chores and yard work, racquet sports, basketball, baseball, cross country and downhill skiing or a ski machine, skating, and weight training.

What Else Is Necessary to Maintain Good Bone Health?
To be strong, bones also need calcium.  Increased calcium produces increased bone density, which increases strength.  Adults need 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily.  Sources of calcium include dairy products (the best source), green, leafy vegetables, shellfish, sardines, oysters, hazelnuts, almonds and tofu.  Many foods like orange juice, bread and cereal is fortified with calcium.  Calcium may also be added in pills or liquid supplements.

What Is Estrogen’s Role In Bone Formation?
In women, estrogen helps calcium become absorbed into the bones.  After menopause, as estrogen levels lower, calcium losses can increase dramatically and supplements may be considered.

Is Too Much Exercise Harmful?
Yes.  Young, highly competitive athletes are most commonly guilty of overexercising by doing too much too fast and not giving their bones enough time to rest.  It is important to start to exercise gradually and slowly increase the time and intensity of the workout.

Tips For Beginning An Exercise Program

Before starting an exercise program

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