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Try Out These Exercises for Strengthening Your Bones Backed by Scientific Research

Making wise decisions doesn’t have to be tedious. For instance, one of the most effective actions you can take to enhance your bone health is engaging in activities from your childhood, as suggested by a recent investigation.

Maintaining optimal bone strength is crucial as we age. As we grow older, our bones start losing more bone mass than they produce, leading to a decline in density and resilience. Neglecting bone health can result in osteoporosis, a condition characterized by brittle and fragile bones, increasing the risk of fractures.

Osteoporosis is often called a “silent condition” as many individuals remain unaware of their condition until they experience a fracture. It affects an estimated 10 million individuals in the United States. Moreover, almost half of all women are expected to experience a bone fracture due to osteoporosis at some point in their lives.

Thankfully, taking care of your bone health can also be enjoyable. Recent research from the University of Indiana published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise revealed that young women who engage in multidirectional sports such as soccer, basketball, or volleyball can foster stronger bones and reduce the risk of bone injuries as they age compared to those who do not participate in such sports.

The Mechanism Behind Strengthening Bones Through Sports

By employing high-resolution imaging, researchers examined the shin and foot bones of female collegiate cross-country runners, a group prone to stress fractures. The findings revealed that engaging in sports involving multiple directions benefits young athletes’ bone health and reduces the likelihood of bone injuries in the future compared to only running. Women who combined running with multidirectional sports exhibited 10 to 20 percent greater bone strength than those solely focused on running.

According to the study, loading bones from different directions stimulates bone cells, leading to adaptations in diverse directions and enhancing the development of a sturdy skeletal structure.

Although bones continuously undergo remodeling, with new bone formation and degradation occurring concurrently, peak bone mass generally occurs in the mid to late 20s. Thus, it is essential to capitalize on the early years when bone formation surpasses breakdown. “Optimizing bone health at a young age is essential, hence the emphasis on multidirectional sports,” says Maria Kyriacou, MD, a primary care sports medicine physician at Baptist Health Orthopedic Care in Miami.

Bolstering Bone Health Regardless of Age

While the study focused on adolescents, the benefits of bone health from sports are not restricted to teenagers. Activities like running and jumping can enhance bone strength in adults, even after menopause. Kyriacou states, “Participating in multidirectional sports can help counteract decreases in bone mineral density in post-menopausal women.” Engaging in activities such as soccer, tennis, or frisbee can all have positive effects on bone health.

Moreover, weight-bearing exercises are beneficial for bone strength at any age. If your usual activity is non-weight bearing, like swimming or cycling, incorporating cross-training with multidirectional movements on a weekly basis can stimulate bone health, recommends Kyriacou. “Exercises like jumping, weighted lunges, squats, deadlifts, and push-and-pull movements can be beneficial. These actions load your lumbar spine and hips.” If concerns about heightened risk of acute injuries arise with engaging in contact sports such as basketball, consult your physician. Begin slowly and unleash your inner child, relishing the excitement of healthy competition that aids in building stronger bones.

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