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Weight-Bearing Exercises to Maintain Healthy Bones

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Weight-bearing exercises, started in your youth and continued throughout your life, can help prevent osteoporosis. These exercises, such as walking, jogging, climbing, dancing, or lifting weights, help you build strong bones as a young person. And they help you maintain your bone thickness (density) as an adult. But if you stop exercising, your bones will begin to thin.

Starting these exercises at any age will help prevent bone loss. It is best to do weight-bearing exercise for at least 2½ hours a week. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. In addition to weight-bearing exercise, experts recommend that you do resistance exercises at least 2 days a week.

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The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 10 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis and nearly 34 million more have osteopenia, which puts them at greater risk for osteoporosis. Bone mineral density (BMD) is related to bone strength. BMD testing is used to diagnose osteoporosis. BMD is measured with a test called a DXA scan. By measuring BMD, doctors can predict the risk of having a bone fracture. A bone density scan, or test, should not be confused with a...

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Exercises that are not weight-bearing, such as swimming, are good for your general health. But they do not work your muscles and bones against gravity and so they do not stimulate new bone growth.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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