We often think of bones as a static entity. However, bones are also a living tissue that needs care and nutrients for optimal health. Moreover, the bone mass only is able to peak at one point, after which body starts to experience loss in the bone mass and density. This reverse process starts soon after you hit your 30s.
Exercise, on the other hand, helps in achieving a greater bone mass. It also helps in slowing down the process of the loss so that your bones remain strong as you age.
Strong bones help in mobility and also allow for better functionality. Muscle strength and coordination are also improved by exercise. Thus, the chances of fall and subsequent fractures are also minimized.
Furthermore, weak bones not only impede mobility, but also result in a painful condition known as osteoporosis. In it, bones become so fragile that a mild fall or banal exertion like coughing can result in fractures.
Exercising therefore, not only helps in preventing osteoporosis, but also improves its symptoms. However, patients should first clear with their orthopedic surgeon in Lahore before starting an exercise regimen.
Exercises beneficial for children and young adults:
Bones are in the process of formation in this phase and exercise during these years aids in the building of strong bones. It is suggested that they workout at least 3 days a week in order to reap maximum benefits of exercise.
Suitable forms of exercise include running, jogging, playing intense sports like football, basketball etc. In order to work the arms, weightlifting, racket sports like badminton, and rock climbing are useful.
Other activities that are helpful include dancing, taekwondo, karate, skipping rope, aerobics and boxing.
Exercises beneficial for adults:
Even though in adulthood you cannot form bones, but you can, through exercise, maintain the bone mass and experience moderate bone-building effects with their aid. Whereas all exercise is good for your physical wellbeing, only certain types aid in building bones. These include:
Weight-bearing exercises are those that involve working against gravity. By stressing upon the muscles and the bone, weight-bearing exercise helps in building bone mass.
They are also useful for patients suffering from osteoporosis. One example of weight-bearing exercise is Yoga.
It is useful especially as the different asanas of yoga target the bones that are more vulnerable to fractures, like wrists, hips, spine. Moreover, as it helps in improving balance, coordination and balance, it prevents accidents that may lead to fractures as well.
Similarly, tai chi is also extremely beneficial in slowing down the loss of bones. Easiest to do perhaps is brisk walk. It can be done anytime and anywhere. It is especially useful for preventing hip fractures.
Other weight-bearing exercises include golf, dancing, hiking and racket sports. These, however, require equipment and proper space.
This kind of exercise entails working against some form of resistance. Strength-training exercises also help in building muscles, which in turn benefits the bones as well; the action of pulling on the bones by the muscle fiber stimulates the strengthening of the bones.
Moreover, stronger your muscles are, better is your balance and coordination, thereby decreasing the risks of fall-induced fractures. Strength-training is also helpful in improving posture and also provides support to the back, which is important as it becomes more vulnerable to fractures as age.
Types of strength training exercise include weightlifting, floor exercises like pushups and planks etc. Use of resistance bands while exercising also comes under the umbrella of strength-training.
Do not focus solely on the arms or legs but use these exercises to strengthen bones and muscles of the entire body. Also, pace yourself with these exercise; do them 2-3 times a week only, with breaks in between.
Start off initially with light weights and lesser reps, and progressively build up. People suffering from osteoporosis need to be careful as lifting weights can snap their bones as well.
Stretching is great for working up the muscles. It also helps in improving pain associated with arthritis and also prevent falls.
Exercise tips to remember
Everyone has a different threshold when it comes to work outs. It is important that you listen to your body and do not overexert yourself. When you start off, it is natural that soreness and cramps will ensue. However, if they do not get better in two days’ time, you need to cut back on the workout.
You should aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. If your workouts are more intense, try taking more breaks but tiring yourself will not work as recuperation is just as important.
Moreover, those with preexisting health conditions like heart disease, diabetes etc., should be careful when starting out with a new program. If you experience tightness in chest, you should stop.
Similarly, those with fragile bones or those who have just recovered from a fractured bone need to get the approval and guidance from the best orthopedic surgeon in Lahore prior to starting an exercise regimen.