Exercise and Bone Health
Why Exercise Is Good for Bones
Aerobic (Cardiovascular) Exercise
- Stair climbing
Resistance Exercise (Strength Training)
Weight lifting, using:
- Free weights
- Weight machines
- Elastic tubing
- Calisthenics such as push-ups and chin-ups
Tips for Beginning:
- Warm up for five minutes before activity. This can consist of dynamic stretches that involve movement and a light walk.
- Start the activity slowly for the first five minutes.
- Slowly increase your intensity so that your heart rate increases. A person doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity can talk. A person doing vigorous-intensity activity cannot say more than a few words without stopping to take a breath.
- Gradually increase your workout until you are working out at least 150 minutes a week at moderate–intensity or 75 minutes a week at vigorous intensity.
- Begin each exercise with light weights and minimal repetitions.
- Slowly (over weeks) increase weight, never adding more than 10% in a given workout.
- Do these exercises 2-3 times a week. Allow for one day between each workout for your bones and muscles to rest and repair themselves.
- Gradually increase the number of repetitions to 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions with a rest period of 30-60 seconds between sets.
- Although stiffness the day after exercise is normal, if you are in pain, you did too much. Decrease the intensity or the duration of your exercise.
National Osteoporosis Foundation http://www.nof.org
The President's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition http://www.fitness.gov
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx#toc. Published October 2008. Accessed February 12, 2014.
Bone remodeling. University of Washington website. Available at: http://courses.washington.edu/bonephys/physremod.html. Updated March 30, 2007. Accessed February 12, 2014.
How much physical activity do adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html. Updated December 1, 2011. Accessed February 12, 2014.
Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 27, 2013. Accessed February 12, 2014.
Skeleton keys. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History website. Available at: http://anthropology.si.edu/writteninbone/young%5Fold.html. Accessed February 12, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2014 -
- Update Date: 02/12/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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