Human bone is a dynamic tissue that keeps absorbing calcium from the blood and at times gives away its calcium when needed for other bodily functions. As people age, bones tend to get porous due to an increased loss of calcium from the bones. This increases the risk of back pains, arthritis, and fractures. Fortunately, bones have a special quality. Bone responds to being pitched against gravity. It strengthens when it must consistently bear weight against gravity.
The exercises that force the body to work against gravity are called weight-bearing exercises. These exercises strengthen bones and muscles and improve balance and posture. These exercises work directly on the leg bones, hips, and lower spine to slow age-associated mineral loss. Weight-bearing exercises are good for everyone. However, they are especially recommended for
- elderly individuals to maintain stronger bones;
- people with poor bone health or vitamin D deficiency to reduce the risk of fractures;
- rehabilitation after injury or in case of diseases that cause poor bone and muscle health; and
- post-surgical rehabilitation.
Examples of weight-bearing exercises
- High-impact weight-bearing exercises: These exercises force a person's body to work against gravity. They include skipping, jumping robes, aerobics, Zumba, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, playing tennis, and dancing.
- Low-impact weight-bearing exercises: If suffering from knee pain or back problems, low-impact weight-bearing exercises can help one stay fit and flexible. These include low-impact aerobics (less jumping, more upper body movements), brisk walking, and using elliptical training machines or stair-step machines to work out.
- Resistance exercises: This is lifting weights against gravity. These also help strengthen bones and muscles due to the load. People can do resistance training using dumbbells, kettlebells, or weights. Go for more repetition sets rather than heavier weights for stronger bones and muscles.
- Aerobic exercises: These are believed to improve heart health and weight loss. However, these may not be good options for strengthening bones. Nevertheless, these must also be a part of the exercise regime for the myriad benefits they provide.
Golden rules for exercises:
- Talk to the doctor before starting a fitness activity. This is especially important if there is a known heart condition or high blood pressure.
- Aim for 30 minutes of exercise daily.
- Use good quality footwear when exercising. The shoes must not be too tight, too loose, or too hard.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Take sips of water every 10 minutes.
- Some muscle soreness and discomfort after exercise is normal, but if it lasts beyond 48 hours or occurs with swollen joints, then people need to rest.
- Ask the doctor about the exercises best suited for the age or condition. For example, if suffering from back pain, knee pain, low bone mass, or osteoporosis, high-impact weight-bearing may not be safe.
- Consult a physiotherapist for the proper posture during exercises, a proper warm-up schedule, and the right weights recommended according to a person's age.
- If suffering from osteoporosis, stay away from exercises that involve bending and twisting because this may stress the spine and increase the risk of spinal fractures. This includes exercises such as touching toes, sit-ups, or yoga poses. Golf, tennis, and bowling are also off-limits.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
United States. National Institutes of Health. National Osteoporosis Foundation. "Osteoporosis Exercise for Strong Bones." <https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/exercise/exercise-your-bone-health>.
Top What Are Examples of Weight-Bearing Exercises? Related Articles
8 Effective Exercises to Burn Stomach FatOne can lose stomach fat by adhering to a strict diet plan, exercise regime, and lifestyle modifications. It’s normal to want to get rid of stomach fat fast, but it is not possible to reduce fat. Hence, losing stomach fat requires a mix of various exercises such as resistance training or high-intensity aerobic exercise, along with a healthy diet, which help lose body weight, including stomach fat.
Calcium-Rich DishesExplore 15 delicious calcium-rich dishes. Tender stuffed chicken, Spanish cheese, and almond cake top this array of tasty foods packed with calcium.
Can You Correct Scoliosis With Exercise?Scoliosis may worsen with age in some patients. The curve may increase with or without increasing the pain. Many patients fear that the only treatment for getting relief from the pain will be a spine surgery. However, many patients do not need surgery. With the right workout or exercise regime, you can maintain the curve, help relieve the pain, and halt the progression of your scoliosis.
Exercise QuizTake our Exercise and Fitness Quiz and learn to maximize your fitness level with simple exercises that do not require major changes to your lifestyle.
What Are the Four Most Important Types of Exercises?Exercise is the key to a healthy life. When it comes to exercise, it does not mean only the strenuous ones and exercising at the gym. Exercise also includes stretching and balancing acts.
Low Back Pain: 11 Stretches & Exercises for ReliefOne of the best low back pain treatments is exercise. Whether your pain is in the lower left or lower right back, learn more about low back pain exercises--what works, and what doesn't. Discover severe low back pain relief through various gentle workouts designed to protect and strengthen the lumbar, core, and other related back muscle groups.
Is Muscle Twitching Normal After Exercise?Many people find that their muscles twitch after exercise. Learn the signs of muscle twitches, what causes muscle twitches, how doctors diagnose muscle twitches, and what you can do to treat muscle twitches.
Is Working Out 20 Minutes a Day Enough?The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week. This translates to around 21 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per day.
Low Back Pain ReliefDo you suffer from low back pain? Learn more about common triggers of lower back pain like posture, exercise, and spondylosis. Find out about pain relief treatments like massage, yoga, stretching, exercises for back pain, and chiropractic medicine. See when surgery for back pain makes sense.
Vitamin D SlideshowWhat does vitamin D do? Learn about vitamin D benefits and discover foods that are high in vitamin D. Explore vitamin D deficiency symptoms and the safest ways to get enough vitamin D.
Sciatica ExercisesSciatica is pain that radiates from the lower back down the leg. Nerve compression is the usual cause of sciatica. Exercises, stretching, physical therapy, heat and ice therapy, acupuncture, massage, and spinal manipulation are treatment options.
Spinal Cord Injury: Treatments and RehabilitationWhen vertebrae are broken or dislocated, the result can cause traumatic injury to the spinal cord. A spinal cord injury can have significant physiological consequences. One indication of the severity of a spinal cord injury are respiratory complications. Spinal cord injuries are classified as either. Rehabilitation and recovery of a spinal cord injury is dependant upon the type of injury.
What Are the Symptoms and Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency?What is vitamin D deficiency? Learn the signs of vitamin D deficiency and what foods you can eat to help prevent vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D DeficiencyVitamin D deficiency has been linked with rickets, cancer, cardiovascular disease, severe asthma in children and cognitive impairment in older adults. Causes include not ingesting enough of the vitamin over time, having limited exposure to sunlight, having dark skin, and obesity. Symptoms include bone pain and muscle weakness. Treatment for vitamin D deficiency involves obtaining more vitamin D through supplements, diet, or exposure to sunlight.
Will Running Make Your Legs Muscular?Yes, but if you go overboard and the overall caloric intake is not matched, running and jogging long distances will most likely chip away the muscle.