Our bones are our body’s foundation. But as we age, they can become weak and prone to breaking. There are numerous ways to keep bones healthy, like taking in the right nutrients, eating a balanced diet and avoiding injury.
Bone health and age
As we age, we slowly start to lose bone density. If we lose too much bone density, it can lead to osteoporosis – a disease which can lead to bone fractures. Estimates from the National Osteoporosis Foundation suggest 44 million (55 percent of) men and women over the age of 50 currently are affected by osteoporosis or low bone mass. Worse yet, osteoporosis has led to 1.5 million bone fractures annually in America. With numbers this high, natural ways to make your bones strong is a must.
If bone health is important to you, then I’m sure you’re looking for natural ways to make your bones strong. You’ve come to the right place! If you’re wondering how to build strong bones, here’s a list of 7 exercises for stronger bones which, by the way, can be performed at any age.
1. Yoga and tai chi
If you don’t consider yourself physically active, a great way to keep bones healthy is by starting with yoga or tai chi. Both exercises for stronger bones use slower motions as well as holding specific positions in order to build bone strength.
A study published in Physician and Sports Medicine reported that tai chi could slow bone loss among postmenopausal women. The women in the study performed 45 minutes of tai chi a day, five days a week over the course of a year. The results were these women experienced a drop in bone loss by three-and-a-half times in comparison to the non-tai chi group. Tai chi is excellent to build strong bones, improving bone density.
Another popular method to improving bone density is yoga. A study published in Yoga Journal revealed women who performed yoga regularly had improved bone density in the spine. Yoga can also help bones in the wrists and hips – all vulnerable bones to fractures. Positions like warrior one, two, downward dog, and cobra are all natural ways to make your bones strong.
A step up from tai chi and yoga is walking – specifically at a brisk pace. The Cochrane Collaboration reviewed 18 various studies in regard to exercises for stronger bones. What they found was weight-bearing exercises – like brisk walking – helped to improve bone density, especially in the spine and hip.
Additional studies showed that women who walked four hours a week reduced their risk of bone fractures by 41 percent. Clearly, walking is a great exercise to build stronger bones.
If you want to start on a walking plan, simply begin with three minutes twice daily. Every week, increase the time by two minutes and work your way up to two 30-minute periods. Natural ways to make your bones strong is as easy as walking to the mailbox or vacuuming the floor!
3. Bicep curls
If you’re ready to take on some weight as ways to keep bones healthy, bicep curls are sure to deliver. Because the bones in our arms can also get quite fragile, exercises for stronger bones should also incorporate the upper body as well.
Bicep curls are easy to perform and can be done seated or standing. Starting off with a light weight – no more than five pounds in each hand, unless you have been advised otherwise – position your arms by your sides with palms facing forward. Proceed to bend your elbows and raise the weights up toward your shoulders. Bring both forearms back down and you’ve now completed one repetition.
At first you can start with three sets of five repetitions and work your way up to more weight and repetitions as you become stronger. Likewise, if you don’t have weights, canned soup or water bottles make suitable replacements. Bicep curls are great ways to keep bones healthy and can be done just about anywhere, so why not start right away?
4. Improve balance
It may not seem like an exercise, but improving balance is part of the natural ways to make your bones strong. Improving balance can strengthen your muscles, which will in turn protect your bones and prevent falls which can lead to bone fractures.
Improving your balance is as easy as standing on one foot at a time. At first you may find that you need to rely on a chair to help keep your balance, but eventually you will work your way up to standing on one foot without any assistance. Practicing balance should be a daily occurrence and you can increase the time length according to your abilities.
We couldn’t explain how to build strong bones without mentioning dancing. It’s fun and doesn’t feel like exercise at all! Dancing is part of the enjoyable ways to keep bones healthy – who doesn’t want to have fun and improve their health at the same time?
Dancing combines weight-bearing along with aerobic exercises to give you the ultimate natural way to make your bones strong. The weight-bearing aspect helps in improving bone density. The aerobic side works to improve your cardiovascular health, ensuring your heart and lungs are working just as efficiently. So whether it’s just one song, or you dance the night away, dancing is definitely part of exercises for stronger bones.
6. Romanian dead lift
Don’t let the name scare you, Romanian dead lifts are great exercises for stronger bones. They target your legs, back and arms, all crucial bones to prevent fractures. This exercise requires a heavier weight than what you would use for the bicep curls.
Grasp a weight in each hand and keep feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Bend forward from the waist, keeping your back straight and stomach contracted (pretend you’re pulling your belly button into your spine). While bending, ensure you are squeezing your glutes and your arms are straight, then return back up. Eight to 10 repetitions is ideal at first.
Stretching is equally as important as weight-bearing and aerobic exercises as natural ways to make your bones strong. Stretching can improve flexibility, prevent injuries and is essential to bone health.
Stretching is best performed to warmed-up muscles – after you’ve completed an exercise. Stretching should be done slowly, and holding of each stretch should last at least 20 seconds for maximum results. Make sure you’re not hyper-extending – going beyond a joint’s normal range of motion – joints or muscles as this can lead to injury. For advice in regard to proper stretches, speak with a physiotherapist or a doctor.
Strong bones for years to come
No matter your age, it’s not too late to improve your bone health. Natural ways to make your bones strong are easy and accessible. To note, though, swimming will not improve bone density or bone health as it does not require any weight to add stress to the bones to make them stronger. You want to stick to methods that involve body weight or physical weights.
So if you were wondering how to build strong bones, these 7 exercises for stronger bones are effective and easy to perform. So why not start today and have strong bones for the rest of your life!