Keeping your bones strong and healthy isn’t as simple as drinking milk and taking calcium supplements every now and then. When we’re younger our bone density increases because we replenish more bone mass than we lose, but after 30 we start losing more than we gain. As we move towards middle age there is a real danger of developing osteoporosis, where our bones become brittle and prone to breaking.
How does exercise help?
Although it might seem counterintuitive, putting pressure on your bones through weight-bearing exercise actually improves your bone density. It’s never too late to begin an exercise regimen, and there are a number of workouts that can be done in the comfort of your own home without having to invest in a gym membership or expensive exercise equipment. One thing to bear in mind: if you already have low bone density, avoid high-impact activities such as jumping, as well as movements involving twisting at the waist or back.
Lower body: Squat
The squat is a very simple movement that can be performed with your bodyweight. To squat, stand with your feet in line with your hips, toes pointing slightly outward, and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground, before returning to your starting position. This strengthens the entire lower body as well as your core muscles.
The “Superman” is excellent for strengthening your back and core which can improve the health of your spine. Lie face-down on the ground with your arms extended straight ahead and your legs lying naturally behind you. Lift your hands and feet off the ground while keeping your core (around your stomach and waist) engaged – make sure to keep looking at the floor to avoid straining your neck. Try to hold for at least two seconds before lowering your hands and feet back down. Bone density decreases in the spine as we age, so strengthening that area is a great idea.
Hips: Standing hip abduction
The hips are another danger zone for bone density loss, and strengthening the muscles around your hips and pelvis can be very helpful in avoiding or mitigating this. This is also a low-impact exercise, which makes it safer if your bone density is already on the low side. To perform this movement, stand with your knees soft and holding the back of a chair with your right hand to maintain balance. Lift your left leg up to the side and hold for a few seconds – try to raise your foot about 6 inches from the floor – before lowering it to the starting position. This is a gentle movement to work both hips and can also be adapted to improve your balance.
Build on the basics
These three exercises are a good place to start when it comes to improving or maintaining your bone density, and when you start finding them too easy, there are many ways to increase their difficulty. You can also reward yourself for every successful session by playing at https://www.grandrush.com/ or doing any other activity you enjoy. This will serve as extra motivation to push yourself further.
It is also beneficial to supplement these with exercises such as walking, dancing, or jogging – always starting gently and building up momentum.