How To Move Without Pain

Why are Weight Bearing Exercises Important for Bone Health?

by Meghan Griech, PT, DPT, cert MDT, CKTP

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Weight-bearing exercises are physical activities that require your body to work against gravity while standing, which causes your bones to support your body weight. This type of exercise is essential for building and maintaining strong, healthy bones.

Why are Weight Bearing Exercises Important for Bone Health?

Weight-bearing exercises stimulate the cells in your bones that build new bone tissue, known as osteoblasts. When you engage in weight-bearing exercises, these cells are activated, which leads to an increase in bone density. This increase in bone density can help prevent and slow the progression of osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to become brittle and more susceptible to fractures.

Weight-bearing exercises also help to improve muscle strength, balance, and coordination. This can help reduce the risk of falls, which can be particularly dangerous for older adults. Falls can result in fractures, particularly in the hips, wrists, and spine, significantly impacting your quality of life and slowing the progression of osteoporosis/bone loss.

Examples of Weight Bearing Exercises

There are many different types of weight-bearing exercises that you can incorporate into your fitness routine. Some examples include:

  1. Walking: Walking is a simple and effective weight-bearing exercise that can be done anywhere. You can start with shorter walks and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your walks as your fitness level improves.
  2. Running: Running is a higher intensity weight-bearing exercise that can help build bone density and improve cardiovascular health. If you are new to running, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase your distance and intensity over time.
  3. Dancing: Dancing is a fun and engaging weight-bearing exercise that can help improve coordination and balance. There are many different types of dance, from ballroom to hip hop, so you can choose the style that best suits your interests and fitness level.
  4. Weightlifting: Weightlifting is a type of strength training that involves lifting weights or using resistance bands to build muscle strength. This type of exercise can be particularly effective for building bone density in the upper body, which can help reduce the risk of fractures in the spine and wrists.

Weight-bearing exercises are an important component of a healthy lifestyle, particularly for maintaining strong, healthy bones. By engaging in weight-bearing exercises, you can help prevent osteoporosis, improve muscle strength, balance, and coordination, and reduce the risk of falls and fractures. Incorporating weight-bearing exercises into your fitness routine can be simple and enjoyable, and can have a significant impact on your overall health and well-being.

The CDC recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. Walking is a great way to get your week’s exercise and strengthen your bones since it is a weight-bearing exercise. Water aerobics is also weight bearing yet since the water makes you buoyant and reduces the weight bearing through your legs and spine, it’s a great way to get activity but not as beneficial when you are trying to improve your bone density.

Looking for a specific program for weight-bearing exercises? Check out the Bone Boost Program, a complete guide on understanding osteoporosis and the best exercises for your bones and your balance.  I’m getting ready to launch it soon! Get on the wait list today!

*Disclaimer: All information in this article is intended for instruction and informational purposes. The author(s) are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result.  This information is used to supplement not replace any advice you were provided from your doctor or another medical health professional.  No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied with this article.

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