Osteoporosis affects women and men. Over 1 million people in Australia have osteoporosis. Women are at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis because of the rapid decline in oestrogen levels during menopause. When oestrogen levels decrease, the bones lose calcium and other minerals at a much faster rate. As a result bone loss of approximately 2% per year occurs for several years after menopause.
Men also lose bone as they age, however testosterone levels in men decline more gradually so their bone mass remains adequate till later in life. Regardless of your gender I encourage you to do all you can to promote the growth of strong healthy bones.
Eating a diet rich in foods high in calcium is important for supplying your body with the material required, but in addition regular bone building workouts will increase absorption of the nutrients, and improve strength.
Let’s walk you through what I believe to be the best bone building workouts.
The first bone building workout is strength training. Nothing beats this when it comes to building stronger bones because it’s as weight bearing as it gets. Not only will you be lifting your own body weight while doing the exercise, but you’ll have added weight in the picture as well. This stress on the bones results in the increase uptake of nutrition and laying down of bone tissue. It is ideal for all ages with many of my clients lifting weights regularly well into their seventies and beyond. Regardless of what age you begin the benefit to bones is immediate.
Running is one of the most effective weight bearing exercises to do to help promote strong bones and decrease your risk of osteoporosis. Running however is not for everyone. Some running is good and will help you build strong bones. Too much running is an entirely different story. If you’re overdoing it with your running, you can actually weaken the bones and set yourself up to experience stress fractures down the road.
Always look for variety in your exercise programming. Too much of any type will cause imbalance and may increase your risk of injury. Whether it is running, lifting weights or yoga, achieving a well- rounded exercise program which meets your needs should be your goal. Consulting a fitness professional to discuss your requirements would be a great start.
Skipping is a simple do-at-home activity which has been shown to strengthen bone tissue. Skipping is perfect as it is weight bearing and high impact. Like all high impact activities it comes with risk so start slow and choose a soft surface to reduce impact on your joints. Skipping will contribute to fat loss as it is one of the best calorie burning exercises available. I am a big fan of skipping for its convenience and effectiveness, and with a bit of music on it can be fun too.
Kickboxing is a great form of cardio workout that will definitely get your heart rate up and will work all the main muscles in the body as well. Weight bearing and high impact it ticks the boxes as a bone strengthening exercise. Kickboxing helps to boost agility, flexibility and power. Once the domain of men this form of exercise is becoming more popular with women. It is not only a great workout but teaches some self- defence. I hope you have found my recommendations useful and will look to incorporate my best bone building exercises regularly. Remember to always allow time for recovery and repair between these workouts. After stressing your bones they need time to react and build themselves back up stronger than they were before. Rest is important for not only your muscles, but bones as well.