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What is the best exercise for my bones?

How to build strong bones?



Dear Jacob,

Add running to your exercise routine.

High-impact exercise may be best bone-builder.

In a study of 42 athletic men ages 19 to 45, researchers found that running seemed to have even bigger benefits for bone mass than strength training did.

Both runners and weight trainers had greater bone density in the spine compared with road cyclists, but much of the benefit in weight trainers seemed to stem from their greater muscle mass.

In contrast, running appeared to build bone density regardless of the men's muscle mass, resistance training and high-impact endurance activities increase bone mineral density

High-impact sports, like running, appear to have a greater beneficial effect

Bone is living tissue that reacts to exercise by becoming stronger. Exercise that forces the body to work against gravity -- like running, jumping and weight training -- is most effective.

In contrast, low- impact activities, such as cycling or swimming, put relatively little stress on the bones.

In this study, cyclists generally had the lowest bone density at all body sites measured.

However, even with muscle mass considered, weight trainers and runners still had greater bone density in the spine. And the effects of running appeared to be independent of muscle mass.

Athletes involved in low-impact sports like swimming, cycling and rowing should add weight training or high-impact activities to their workouts.

Only the skeletal sites that experience increased stress from exercise will become stronger.

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