Why should you exercise to help your bones? Well, like muscle, bone can adapt and become stronger as we exercise. Most people hit their peak bone density around the age of 30. Those who have exercised before the age of 30 generally have a higher peak bone density than those who didn’t. After the age of 30 your bone density reduces. But, this does not mean there is nothing you can do about it and that weak or brittle bones will happen. Instead if you start to exercise you can prevent the loss of bone density and keep yourself fit and healthy to enjoy your life to the fullest as you age.
How much should I be exercising?
Think all this exercising is going to take up your whole life? Don’t worry about that just 30 minutes a day 5 days a week is what is needed to keep you healthy. This doesn’t have to be done all in one go, you can have 3 ten minute bursts of activity every day if that suits your own schedule better than doing it altogether. This 30 minutes 5 days a week is for activities such as running, walking, cycling or hiking. On top of that you should get in some strength training/resistance training at least twice a week.
What exercises are best for improving my bone health?
The best exercises for your bone health are ones we refer to as “weight-bearing exercises”. By this we mean exercises that force you to work against gravity. For example; walking, hiking, jogging, climbing the stairs or dancing. Other exercises such as cycling or swimming can help keep your heart and lungs healthy and they will help maintain bone health. But, they will just have less benefit than a weight-bearing exercise would such as taking up jogging.
What tips do you have for starting a new exercise program?
If you’re starting something new we always advise to start slow and steady. If you are going to try running then start with some run-walks and build up from there, if you’re going to start going to the gym then start with 2 to 3 days a week and don’t dive in by going every day.
Make sure you recover from your new exercise properly, recovery is as important a part as the exercise itself is. Recovery gives our muscles and bones time to adapt to the stress they’ve been put under. Good recovery should include a good sleeping pattern (if possible), eating well and leaving rest days between runs/exercise sessions. Rest days don’t have to be totally sedentary, on your rest days a walk, cycle or swim or a lighter form of exercise will help too.
If running is the exercise you’ve chosen to improve your bone health just remember that bone adapts best to bouts of running separated by some rest as opposed to long distance runs of 10km or more. If your key goal is to have healthier bones then maybe run-walks would be best for you!
If you want to take up running to and are unsure where to start we have a beginner plan that you can follow. **click here for link to beginner running plan**
We also have a beginner strength training plan to go with that running plan. **click here for strength training exercises** If you need any more information about bone health please don’t hesitate to contact us via email, on the phone, through our social media or if you’d like you can book in for a face to face consultation with us in clinic. Bookings can be made online at https://www.painandperformanceclinic.ie/.