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Effective Workouts for Improving Bone Health Backed by Research


Effective Workouts for Improving Bone Health Backed by Research

Image Source: Khosro / Shutterstock

Effective Workouts for Improving Bone Health Backed by Research

Making healthy decisions doesn’t have to be a tedious task. Interestingly, engaging in classic schoolyard games can significantly benefit your bone health, as suggested by a recent study.

Maintaining strong bones is crucial for healthy aging. As we age, our bones tend to lose density and strength as they break down more bone than they build. Failing to support our bone health through regular exercise and a balanced diet can lead to osteoporosis, a condition characterized by fragile and weak bones, increasing the risk of fractures.

Osteoporosis is often undetected until a bone is broken, affecting around 10 million Americans. Shockingly, approximately half of all women will experience a bone fracture due to osteoporosis at some point in their lives.

Fortunately, taking care of your bones can be enjoyable. A recent study by the University of Indiana, published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, revealed that young women engaging in multidirectional sports like soccer, basketball, and volleyball can develop stronger and healthier bones, reducing the likelihood of bone-related injuries as they age compared to those who don’t participate in such sports.

Benefits of Engaging in Sports for Bone Health

The study examined the shin and foot bones of female collegiate cross-country runners who are prone to stress fractures using high-resolution imaging. The research showed that participating in multidirectional sports benefits young athletes’ bone health and helps prevent bone injuries in the long run, surpassing the benefits of running alone. Young women involved in both running and multidirectional sports in their youth had 10 to 20 percent stronger bones compared to those solely engaged in running activities.

Researchers explain that loading bones in various directions activates bone cells, prompting adaptations in different directions, leading to a more robust skeleton development.

While bones are continuously renewed with new bone formation and old bone breakdown, bone mass typically peaks in the mid to late 20s. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize bone health optimization, particularly through multidirectional sports, at an early age.

Enhancing Bone Health at Any Age

Although the study focused on adolescents, the benefits of playing sports for bone health aren’t limited to teens. Activities like running around, ball games, and jumping can also enhance bone strength in adults, even after menopause. Engaging in multidirectional sports can help mitigate reductions in bone mineral density for post-menopausal women.

It is recommended to include weight-bearing activities in your routine to strengthen bones regardless of age. If your usual activity is non-weight bearing, such as swimming or cycling, integrating multidirectional movements through cross-training can stimulate your bones effectively. Amp up your routine with exercises like jumping, lunges, squats, deadlifts, and push-and-pull movements to engage your lumbar spine and hips.

If you are concerned about potential injuries while taking up contact sports like basketball, consult your doctor for advice. Start slowly and embrace the joy of healthy competition and bone building.

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