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Weight-Bearing Exercises to Maintain Healthy Bones

Topic Overview

Weight-bearing exercises, started in your youth and continued throughout your life, can help prevent osteoporosis. These exercises, such as walking, jogging, climbing, dancing, or lifting weights, help you build strong bones as a young person. And they help you maintain your bone thickness (density) as an adult. But if you stop exercising, your bones will begin to thin.

Starting these exercises at any age will help prevent bone loss. It is best to do weight-bearing exercise for at least 2½ hours a week. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. In addition to weight-bearing exercise, experts recommend that you do resistance exercises at least 2 days a week.

Exercises that are not weight-bearing, such as swimming, are good for your general health. But they do not work your muscles and bones against gravity and so they do not stimulate new bone growth.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last Revised November 6, 2012

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