"Building Strength from Within: The Power of Weight-Bearing Exercises"

Bone Health

Amrita Hiremath

6/2/20233 min read

man in black t-shirt and black shorts running on road during daytime
man in black t-shirt and black shorts running on road during daytime

weight-bearing exercise creates bone density. Our bones remodel and regrow themselves when there is a stimulus from the external environment. One of the best ways to achieve this is to perform movements where our body is upright and working against gravity – think dancing, hiking, walking, climbing, tennis, netball, skipping, aerobics – anything where the body is sustaining impact.

Weight-bearing exercise has long been known to build bone density—and contrary to popular belief, lifting weights is not enough. During weight-bearing activity, the muscles and tendons apply tension to the bones, which stimulates the bones to produce more bone tissue. As a result, bones become stronger and more dense and the risk of osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures decreases.

Weight Bearing exercises can be of two types, Low impact, and High impact. High-impact exercises can help build bones and keep your bones strong, but if you have issues with your bones you may want to avoid strenuous activities. Low-impact weight-bearing exercises are a safe alternative as they are still a great way to keep your bones healthy and strong.

Depending on your fitness goals and the current state of your bones and joints, incorporating more weight-bearing exercises into your daily routine might be a great way to focus on your bone health. It is always a good idea to speak with your doctor before you start trying out new forms of exercise, and this is especially the case if you have bone or joint problems that put you at an increased risk for injury.

citiscan result hand ok
citiscan result hand ok

How exactly does Weight-Bearing Exercises Benefit Bone Health:

  1. Increases Bone Density: Weight-bearing exercises apply stress to the bones, stimulating the production of new bone tissue. Over time, this results in increased bone density, making the bones stronger and less prone to fractures.

  2. Builds Bone Strength: Weight-bearing exercises improve the strength of the muscles that surround and support the bones. Strong muscles act as a protective cushion, reducing the impact of falls or accidents on the bones.

  3. Enhances Calcium Absorption: Weight-bearing exercises enhance the absorption of calcium by the bones, a vital mineral for bone health. This leads to improved bone mineralization and reduced risk of osteoporosis.

  4. Stimulates Bone Remodeling: Weight-bearing exercises activate bone remodeling, a natural process in which old bone tissue is broken down and replaced with new, healthier bone tissue. This remodeling process helps maintain bone integrity and vitality.

  5. Improves Balance and Coordination: Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, or dancing, improve balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls and associated bone fractures.

woman running wearing armband
woman running wearing armband

Examples of Weight-Bearing Exercises and Activities

  • Walking:

  • Yoga:

  • Pilates

  • Jogging or running

  • Hiking

  • Stair climbing

  • Sports like basketball, football, and Racquet sports

  • Strength-training exercises

  • Dancing

  • Free weights

  • Exercise bands

  • Core exercises

  • Tai chi

Safety Considerations:

While weight-bearing exercises offer numerous benefits, it's important to exercise caution, especially for individuals with certain health conditions. If you have existing joint problems or other medical concerns, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise regimen. Additionally, proper form, appropriate footwear, and gradual progression are essential to minimize the risk of injury.

Remember to choose activities that align with your fitness level, goals, and personal preferences. If you have any underlying health conditions, it's always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise program. Enjoy exploring different weight-bearing exercises and discover the ones that bring you joy and improve your bone health.