Are you a woman over 40?
If you answered yes, then it’s time to pick up some weights and focus on improving your bone density. Sure, a consistent workout regimen that includes lifting weights is going to help you burn fat, sculpt shapely muscle and increase your metabolism. But as we age, we need to start thinking about our long-term health and safety and be integrating regular physical activity into our daily schedules. And one of the most helpful activities to keep your bones safe and reduce the risk of osteoporosis is strengthening your muscles (which ultimately strengthens your bones).
It’s never too late to start lifting to build stronger bones. Studies have shown that people in their 60s and 70s have improved their bone density by regular weight lifting.
While any exercise is better than no exercise, there are a few particular exercises that are best for increasing bone density. Focus on form over heavyweights at first, and ask for help if you’re new to strength training.
Now let’s review some of the best exercises to build stronger bones:
- Compound exercises: Utilizing multiple muscle groups at once has been shown to result in greater strength gains than isolated muscle group training. So incorporate exercises such as squats, push-ups, pull-ups, walking lunges and deadlifts throughout the week.
- Plyometrics: High-impact exercises such as jumping, running, hopping and jumping rope are fantastic at building stronger bones because of the force being generated. But be advised that they can take a toll on your body, and you’ll need longer to recover between sessions. I’d suggest starting out with a once-a-week plyometric session and keeping the total time shorter than your typical workouts.
- Running and hiking: When you opt for running and hiking over walking, you’ll work your muscles more and, therefore, help improve your bone density. Running and hiking generate less impact than plyometrics and might be a better choice if you have a history of joint pain. Even better, going for a run or hike outdoors with changes in terrain and incline can help improve your balance and agility, too; this can help to prevent falls as you age.
Blog Written By: Blaire Rummel