Osteoporosis is a big deal for women. But there’s more involved in keeping your bones strong and healthy than just eating plenty of calcium. Weight-bearing activity (exercise on your feet that works your bones and muscles against gravity) is crucial to building and maintaining optimal bone mass. Here’s why:
Bone density refers to your reserve of stored calcium. This is what determines the strength and health of your bones.
Bones are living tissue and need to be used to be strengthened.
The best time to start doing weight-bearing activities is during the teen and early adult years when bones are still growing. But it’s never too late to start!
The more bone density you have, the less negative impact there will be after menopause, when bone density begins to thin out with the loss of estrogen.
Higher bone density means stronger bones that are less susceptible to fracture or breakage.
So ladies, listen up: here are some activities you can incorporate into your lives to build up bone mass and stay strong.
For starters, lift things! No need to go overboard, but carry your groceries to the car and don’t be shy about picking up boxes. Just make sure you protect your back and do it safely.
Jogging is good for building bone, and so is walking uphill, but a regular walk around the block won’t do much for you.
Vigorous gardening and housecleaning – move a lot, stretch and lift heavy things!
Skip the elevator and climb stairs instead.
On your walks and hikes, wear a backpack. Fill it with water bottles and other things to add some weight, as this helps build bone.
Weightlifting is very good for your bones. There are weightlifting techniques that help build lean muscle mass, and plenty of bone while you’re at it. Here are tips to lift weights without bulking up.
For more active types, try jumping rope, team sports (basketball, hockey, soccer), and high impact aerobics.
Image: glitter feet