Bones support and protect the various organs of the body. Without strong bones, we wouldn't be able to stand, walk, run, or even sit comfortably. Paying a heed to bone health is a vital part of health. Taking care of bones consists of two aspects – bone-strengthening nutrition and exercises.
Not all exercises are equal and render benefits when it comes to building your bones. How does weight training affect bones and are there any specific weight bearing exercises that can increase bone density or improve overall bone health?
According to health and fitness experts, the activities that involve impacts with the earth are effective way to improve bone health. The activities such as jumping and running create ground-reaction forces that move through your bones and stimulate them to remodel themselves and add density. Moreover, these exercises help improve bone health because of the strong muscular contractions that tug at and slightly bend attached bones, redoubling the stimulating effects of the exercise.
Weight training can also help your bones become strong and less likely to break. According to the National Institute of Arthritis, lifting weights make bones denser because your body has to overcome gravity. It causes your muscles to pull on your bones and stimulate bone tissue growth. Cardio exercises and aerobics do not have the same effect on your bones, which is why weight training becomes important to maintain your bone health.
As mentioned above, the best exercises for your bones are weight-bearing exercises or those that forces you to work against gravity. Weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis and dancing are some of the activities that give you a chance to improve bone health. Exercises that are not weight-bearing such as bicycling and swimming are equally essential. These activities have excellent cardiovascular benefits and help maintain strong muscles.
If you have never engaged in weight-training exercises, you must begin with lighter weights. Starting small is important to prevent injury. Use light dumbbells (one to five pounds) or elastic resistance bands when you are a beginner. With time, you can increase intensity and mix weight-training with other higher-impact activities such as jogging and step aerobics. To maximize bone-building benefits, it is important that you increase the amount of weight you lift.
Talk to your health care provider or a fitness expert before you begin a weight-training program. This will ensure that your bones are strong enough to bear weight and injuries are avoided.
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