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Bone, like muscle, is living tissue that needs to be maintained and built through nutrients and activity. Regular physical activity increases bone density in both younger and older people. This is particularly important for older adults who are more susceptible to bone loss and conditions like osteoporosis. But no matter what age you are, you can find exercise that will help you build strong bones, and we've got a list of some ideas below!
These Chinese martial arts are low impact, focused on perfecting slow, deliberate movements. They combine grace of form with mindfulness, incorporating meditation and breathing exercises in a practice that can help your circulation, balance, posture, and alignment. Studies also suggest that people who practice them regularly may enjoy more bone density; postmenopausal women who practiced tai chi 5 days a week, 45 minutes a day for a year, had a rate of bone loss 3 1/2 slower than women who didn't practice it.
Yoga, a flexibility workout that can be adapted to anyone's physical condition, stretches your muscles to improve mobility and strength. It also improves posture, balance, coordination, concentration, and body awareness, which help to improve your mobility while also reducing fall risk. It incorporates mindfulness practices to improve breathing and reduce stress, and may also strengthen your bones! Women who do yoga regularly have been found in studies to have improved spinal bone density.
No matter where you are, walking is an effective option for a convenient workout with meaningful long-term results. Brisk walking is your best bet, but you can see improvements in your health, mobility, and strength from walking regularly at any pace. Studies show that regular walking for seniors can improve bone mass; post-menopausal women, for instance, reduced their chances of hip fractures by 40% just from walking 30 minutes a day! So whether you do it outside or indoors on a treadmill or other device, getting your steps in will make your winter safer.
Bearing your own weight can increase bone density, and so can the impact on your legs when your feet hit the ground. The changing inclines involved in hiking can vary the impact on your body so you can use a full range of muscles in your hips, legs, and back. If you have access to safe, skill level-appropriate hiking trails in the winter, consult your doctor about hiking.
Most would assume that strength training is high-impact and punishing, but it doesn't have to be. Between calisthenics, yoga, resistance bands, and weight machines, there are plenty of moderate, adaptable options to strengthen muscle. Strength training at least twice a week is required to stimulate bone growth, so it's important to find ways to build strength that work with your body's needs.
Many fitness centers offer aerobics classes designed around the needs of older adults, and many of these are even built around improving strength and balance for fall prevention. There are almost limitless options: step classes, dance classes, water aerobics, Pilates, and many others. Find what works for you!
In the right hands, shoveling snow is great exercise! However, there's potential injury risk from overexertion, so make sure you're doing it right. Some tips:
If you're trying to get more exercise in order to improve your mobility and build stronger bones, visit Mountainside Medical Equipment! We've got everything from vitamins to heart rate monitors to topical pain gels like Mountain Ice Sports Recovery Gel to get you active and on your feet. Click this link to visit our exercise and fitness products!
Please consult your doctor or other qualified medical professional before stopping or starting any medications, supplements, or health regimens.