Bone density may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about the benefits of regular, healthy exercise, but it is definitely up there. You may not even consider it an important thing to think about when looking at your overall health, but healthy bones can really be the difference between a healthy and active life and a severe debilitating injury, at any age.

As time goes on, your bone density really takes a hit. If you are especially inactive, or as you get older (over 40 particularly), your bone structure begins to diminish naturally. It's just a part of life sadly, but there are steps you can take to do something about it. Over the age of 40, your bone density diminishes at a massive 1% per year unless you do!

Detrimental effects

Man resting with a broken leg

Low bone density is a really serious issue, in and outside of exercise. The lower it gets, the weaker your bones become on a general level, and as time goes on, the more problems this causes. In a severe case, it can mean that even light impacts can cause serious bone injuries like breaks, as well as causing simple daily activities to become risks, and possibly, extremely painful. If you do begin to exercise, it can be even more of a threat as you put more stress on your body.

Exercise

This is where exercising comes into play. Pretty much any exercise will help you out in some way, and bone density is only one of the many benefits that come from it. The more that you do, the more that your body needs your muscles to strengthen, and that’s just what it does. You don't have to become an athlete or anything, just some light exercise, as little as two to three times a week, can make a huge difference.

Weight Training

Close up of man holding dumbbells

Weight training is the primary way for this to happen. The stress that you are putting on your bones is similar to the stress that you are putting on your muscle. This is what results in the cells in your bones having to respond to keep you in good shape and increases the density of your bones, keeping them strong and ready for whatever you throw at them, no matter what your age.

Aerobic Exercise

couple running on a treadmill

Aerobic exercise can have similar effects to weight training too, believe it or not. This is why any exercise is a great idea! Any weight-bearing exercises including things like step aerobics, jogging or even resistance-based exercises like cycling all have similar demands on your body, leaving your bones with a need to increase in strength.

Benefits of Bone density

All in all, exercise builds up bone density; that's clear. It also helps to reduce the rate at which it's naturally lost in later life too, so the sooner that you can start, the better! If you allow your bone density to drop too much, that's when you're far more likely to break or fracture a bone from more mundane activities or less severe injuries. This only gets more severe as time goes on, so get moving and protect your bones as well as your muscles!

Food

Close up shot of a basked of vegetables

While you are doing these exercises, it's also incredibly important to remember that you need to eat the right foods to keep yourself in the prime position to fight these issues. Vegetables, in general, are a great place to start because of the increase of vitamin intake such as C and K which really help the most. Remembering to consume enough protein for bone synthesis and to maximise calcium absorption and keep your bones strong is vital too!

Whether you’re preventing any issues from arising, or you’re dealing with an already reduced bone density, ensure that you’re keeping safe at all times. It can be so easy to just jump into training without taking the proper precautions, and this is the easiest way for injuries to happen. Ease into it and take your time for the safest results. Exercise in later life is always a good idea, but this is a particularly strong case to get the ball rolling sooner, rather than later!

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.