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Bone Building Exercise


When you're trying to drop pounds without exercising, you could be losing important bone, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. As your body gets lighter, it may not put enough stress on your skeleton to produce bone-building activity. Exercise, especially strength training, helps prevent bone loss and may even increase bone density by regularly stressing your bones. Studies show that exercises requiring muscles to pull on bones cause the bones to retain and possibly gain density.

Bone Building Exercise

As You Age

Weight-bearing exercise primarily helps you engage bone building exercise as you age. To qualify as "weight-bearing", the legs must bear your weight -- as in walking, running, tennis and aerobics. Swimming, while a great aerobic exercise, is not considered weight-bearing. If walking is your choice, make sure you walk with enough intensity to "stress" your bones. This means moving briskly and/or taking on some hills. A sedentary lifestyle can be a "bone density disaster". Take astronauts, for example. While living in weightless conditions, they drop about 1-percent of bone mass a week.

Important Notes

  • The benefits of weight-bearing exercise are site-specific. This means that you strengthen only the bones used directly in the exercise. Therefore, it's a good idea to participate in a variety of weight-bearing exercises. To maintain the bone-building benefits, exercise should be continued on a regular basis.
  • Weight-bearing activities at any age benefit bone health. Studies link physical activity with increased bone strength in children, teens, men and women, and even adults 90 years of age and older.
  • Too much exercise decreases hormones that are needed for good bone health. If a woman exercises to the point where she stops menstruating, she may actually increase her risk of the bone-crippling disease osteoporosis.
  • Weight-bearing exercise alone is not enough to protect you from osteoporosis. Even if you do weight-bearing exercise regularly, failing to eat enough calcium-rich foods will weaken your bones.

Vitamin K and Your Bones

Researchers suspect that green leafy vegetables also protect bone because they're loaded with vitamin K. Vitamin K is best known for its ability to help blood clot, but a growing body of evidence suggests that it does much more. Vitamin K is important for proper functioning of bone-dependent proteins. Bone is constantly breaking down and rebuilding, and it needs those proteins to rebuild.

When Tufts researchers looked at nearly 900 men and women in a Framingham Heart Study, those who consumed roughly 250 micrograms of vitamin K a day had a 65 percent lower risk of hip fractures than those who averaged around 55 micrograms a day.

The question is whether it's vitamin K, something else in leafy greens, or something else about people who eat leafy greens that protects their bones. Until on-going research is conclusive, you can get 500 micrograms in just half a cup of cooked collards. And even if the vitamin K in greens doesn't make your bones more dense, it may still strengthen your skeleton.

Arugula for Vitamin K

Initial or Beginner Bone Building Exercise

  • Walking
  • Square Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Weight Lifting
  • Low Impact Aerobics
  • Dance
  • Tai Chi
  • Gardening
  • Stair Climbing
  • Elastic Band Exercises
  • House Cleaning Activities
  • Carrying Groceries
  • Bowling
  • Golf, Pulling Clubs
  • Golf, Carrying Clubs
  • Baseball/Softball

Weight Lifter

Moderate Bone Building Exercise

  • Walking uphill
  • Race walking
  • Jogging
  • Weight lifting
  • Step aerobics
  • Dance
  • Racquetball
  • Downhill skiing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Hiking
  • Tennis

Advanced Bone Building Exercise

  • Walking with weighted vest
  • Walking with backpack
  • Race walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Soccer
  • Weight lifting
  • High impact aerobics
  • Stair climbing w/weighted vest
  • Basketball
  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Jumping rope
  • Gymnastics


  • Initial /Beginner: Start one or more of these activities on a regular basis. Get up and get moving!
  • Moderate: Increase your load, intensity and time of physical activity. Do more, more often
  • With minor back pain, do not stay in bed for more than a day or two. Get on your feet and move. Inactivity leads to loss of muscle strength.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself to keep increasing your load, intensity and time of physical activities. Put effort into Building Bone!

Did You Know?

Coconut oil aids the body in the absorption of calcium and magnesium. Both minerals are important for strong bones and teeth.

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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.