Weight-Bearing Exercise: 8 Workouts for Strong Bones
Here are the latest weight-bearing workout trends.
The Latest Weight-Bearing Workout Trends continued...
Or try the newest aerobics, kickboxing, or step class at your health club or
local Y. New classes emerge every few months to keep members motivated. A lot
of them now combine strength training with dance or step moves -- and will perk
up your balance as well.
The work of weight-bearing -- and the impact as your feet hit the ground --
can increase bone density, especially in your hips. It's just like walking, and
then some. You'll get even more impact on those bones if you're going uphill or
downhill, and that can improve bone health even more. More impact on your feet
and legs translates into more bone density, says the surgeon general.
And with hiking, boredom is rarely an issue. You're often socializing and
meeting new people, as well as expanding your horizons as you see new
7. Racquet Sports
Tennis, squash, and paddle tennis can rally your bone density. You're
stressing your racquet arm, wrist, and shoulder every time you hit the ball,
and working your hips and spine with all that running around -- and chasing
down wild balls.
If you're going for racquet sports, go for singles. You'll get a lot more
from your workout in terms of bone health, since you'll be running around
8. Strength Training
Lifting weights, using the weight machines at your health club, or doing
calisthenics, are forms of strength or resistance training. You're working
against some form of resistance -- whether it's a set of "free"
weights, your own body weight, or weight machines -- to stress a sequence of
muscles and bones. Strength training at least twice a week, says the surgeon
general, is needed to stimulate bone growth.
Every gym has a trainer who can design a workout for your legs, back,
shoulders, and arms -- one that's right for your fitness level and can rally
your bone health.
Thin Bones Beware
Take a few exercise precautions if you already have bone thinning:
- Because your fracture risk is higher than normal, be cautious about trying
any exercise with the potential for serious falls, like downhill skiing, ice
skating, or inline skating.
- If you have bone thinning in your spine, you may want to forgo any deep
backbends in yoga.
- Again, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program,
especially if you're taking medications that slow your coordination or throw
off your balance.
One final tip: Be patient. The bone-building phase in young adults -- at its
speediest -- takes three to four months, and it may take a lot longer if you
have osteoporosis or are older. So you won't be seeing big changes on any bone
density tests after your first week of working out. Bones change slowly -- but
they do change.