Locations Main Campus: Chesterfield, MO 63017   |   Locations
314-434-1500 314-434-1500   |   Contact Us

Multimedia Encyclopedia


 
E-mail Form
Email Results

 
 
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Exercise, lifestyle, and your bones

Osteoporosis - exercise; Low bone density - exercise; Osteopenia - exercise

 

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become brittle and more likely to fracture (break). With osteoporosis, the bones lose density. Bone density is the amount of bone tissue in your bones.

Exercise plays a key role in preserving bone density as you age.

Why Exercise?

 

Make exercise a regular part of your life. It helps keep your bones strong and lower your risk of osteoporosis and fractures as you get older.

Before you begin an exercise program, talk with your health care provider if:

  • You are older
  • You have not been active for a while
  • You have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or any other health condition

 

How Much and What Type of Exercise?

 

To build up bone density, the exercise must make your muscles pull on your bones. These are called weight-bearing exercises. Some of them are:

  • Brisk walks, jogging, playing tennis, dancing, or other weight-bearing activities such as aerobics and other sports
  • Careful weight training, using weight machines or free weights

Weight-bearing exercises also:

  • Increase bone density even in young people
  • Help preserve bone density in women who are approaching menopause

To protect your bones, do weight-bearing exercises 3 or more days a week for a total of over 90 minutes a week.

If you are older, DO NOT do high-impact aerobics, such as step aerobics. This type of exercise may increase your risk of fractures.

Low-impact exercises, like yoga and tai chi, DO NOT help bone density very much. But they can improve your balance and lower your risk of falling and breaking a bone. And, even though they are good for your heart, swimming and biking DO NOT increase bone density.

 

Other Lifestyle Changes to Help Your Bones

 

If you smoke, quit. Also limit how much alcohol you drink. Too much alcohol can damage your bones and raise your risk of falling and breaking a bone.

If you do not get enough calcium, or if your body does not absorb enough calcium from the foods you eat, your body may not make enough new bone. Talk with your provider about calcium and your bones.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb enough calcium.

  • Ask your provider if you should take a vitamin D supplement.
  • You may need more vitamin D during the winter or if you need to avoid sun exposure to prevent skin cancer.
  • Ask your provider about how much sun is safe for you.

 

 

References

De Paula, FJA, Black DM, Rosen CJ. Osteoporosis and bone biology. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 29.

National Osteoporosis Foundation. Clinician's guide to prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Updated November 11, 2015. my.nof.org/bone-soruce/education/clinicians-guide-to-the-prevention-and-treatment-of-osteoporosis. Accessed June 30, 2016.

 
  • Weight control

    Weight control - illustration

    Weight lifting builds muscle, which increases overall body strength, tone, and balance. Muscles also burn calories more efficiently than fat and other body tissues. So even at rest the more muscle tissue a person has the more calories a person is burning.

    Weight control

    illustration

    • Weight control

      Weight control - illustration

      Weight lifting builds muscle, which increases overall body strength, tone, and balance. Muscles also burn calories more efficiently than fat and other body tissues. So even at rest the more muscle tissue a person has the more calories a person is burning.

      Weight control

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

    Talking to your MD

     

      Self Care

       

      Tests for Exercise, lifestyle, and your bones

       

         

        Review Date: 5/17/2016

        Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
        adam.com

         
         
         

         

         

        A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.



        Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.