Many of you have heard about how bone density works in my classes over the years– I also have had a fair number of questions coming up recently about classes, certain movements and bone density. This is a great opportunity for all of us to appreciate the power of conscious movement to benefit health!
How does exercise impact bone density?
Muscles and bones are made of cells, which are alive and conscious. Any time you change your routine, or increase the amount of weight you are lifting, bones and muscles are stimulated to grow! If you decrease the amount of movement and weight you are asking of them, they break themselves back down to release energy for other body functions. Every system of the body will be excited to grow, or get sleepy and decrease, depending on the attention you give it.
Standing, weight lifting, walking, dancing, and doing yoga poses are weight-bearing exercises. Walking is especially good for building bone density in the thigh bones.
Being on hands and knees, doing planks, downdog or pointer dogs are all excellent ways to build bone density in the spine and forearms.
Lying on the stomach and doing backbends – such as baby cobra, locust and superman –are excellent for building bone density in the spine and strengthening postural muscles. We can stand taller every day with these gems!
Movements using weights and resistance bands help to stimulate muscles and bone in the arms, thighs and spine.
What about swimming and bicycling?
Swimming and bicycling are excellent for cardiovascular and joint health. They do not benefit your bone density as much as weight lifting, brisk walking, cardio and yoga. If you enjoy swimming and/or bicycling, keep doing those things! But try to fit in some other movements as well!
What is most important?
Finding ways to move every single day, that bring us joy! Finding activities that interest us and make us want to do them! We all have days in which we want to take a break or have a day off. We also might have things we like to do that are challenging–so sometimes–even though we do enjoy those activities, we don’t feel like doing them. Make movement fun, as much as you can. Explore your edges. Sometimes we truly need to rest and sometimes we are feeling lazy. Only you know the difference. Cultivate that self-love and deep listening!
If you already have a diagnosis of Osteopenia or Osteoporosis
If you hae been diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis, your bones have already lost density and are more prone to fracture. Not all exercises are safe and beneficial for people with bone loss. My Strong Bones classes eliminate movements that can be harmful and increase movements that are helpful. You can read more about the rules of exercise here.