Exercising has a positive effect on a person’s overall health and well-being. Most notably, exercise is great for weight management, cardiovascular health, and psychological health as well. But did you know that exercise can also increase your joint and bone health? According to the NIH, just like muscle tissue, bones respond to exercise by becoming stronger. Knowing how exercising impacts your bones and joints may help you get motivated to start exercising regularly if you already haven’t. If you are afraid that exercising may negatively affect your joints, rest assured that you have no reason to worry. Keep reading to find out more on what exercise can do for your bones and joints.
Exercising for bone health
If you suffer from conditions affecting the bones such as osteopenia and osteoporosis, then your doctor has probably already recommended you exercising as another a treatment option. There are many reasons why exercise is now considered a viable treatment for frail bones. First, the load delivered to the skeleton during a bout of exercising stimulates bone remodeling which has been confirmed through research. Secondly, exercising strengthens muscles, improves posture, and increases balance. These factors decrease your risks of falling. Lastly, exercise indirectly reduces your risks of bone fractures by warding off metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis.
Exercise for joint health
Exercising was previously considered to negatively affect joint health by wearing down cartilage tissue. However, today we know that this is simply not the case. Joint tissue is known to become stronger and thicker with exercise just like any other bodily tissue. Exercising also positively impacts the connective and lean tissue surrounding the joints providing the joints with better support. The reason why people may develop joint problems with age is mostly due to factors such as genetics, being overweight, injury, overuse, metabolic disorders, and in the case of rheumatoid arthritis – autoimmune disorders. Exercising moderately and reasonably should not only have a positive effect on joint health and prevent and treat bone joint pain.
The best exercise for stronger bones
Most experts nowadays agree that weight-bearing is the best type of exercise for bone strength. Weight-bearing force your body to work against gravity and this stimulates greater bone remodeling. Good examples of weight-bearing exercises are weight training, walking, jogging, and hiking. For those with osteopenia or osteoporosis, a doctor may recommend lighter activities to reduce the risk of fractures and to improve flexibility and muscle strength. If you have heart problems, diabetes, or high blood pressure, do talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Best exercise healthy joints
The Arthritis Foundation recommends gentle and simple workout routines for arthritis sufferers. Walking, yoga, swimming, golfing, and similar gentle exercises improve flexibility and reduce stress. Gentle exercising was also found to reduce pain from arthritis. However, if you don’t suffer from arthritis, then any type of moderate activity is completely safe. The problem with arthritis is that structural damage to the joints is already present and in most cases irreversible. The goal of arthritis-friendly exercising programs is to slow down disease progression and increase a person’s mobility. Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Aging Research found that exercising reduces muscle wasting, improve joint functioning, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Other things you could do
Regular exercising needs to accompany other healthy habits in order to exert the best health outcomes. For instance, your eating habits can also affect your bone metabolism. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is important for healthy bones. A lack of these key nutrients means your body won’t have enough building blocks to build healthy bone tissue. If you want to ensure you are getting enough nutrients to support bone health, then you may also consider taking bone health supplements. On the other hand, unhealthy habits such as smoking were found in numerous studies to be a major risk factor for osteoporosis. Smoking may also exacerbate inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and slow down cartilage regeneration in osteoarthritis.
If you suffer from bone and joint problems or want to prevent osteoporosis or arthritis, then taking up an exercising program is one way to do so. Exercising was found to increase bone remodeling and lead to stronger and healthier joints. Exercising also supports the skeleton indirectly by preventing metabolic diseases that could negatively impact bone health. Exercising also increases muscle strength and improves flexibility which gives the bone additional support and prevents joint injury. All in all, exercising is said to improve skeletal health, prevent bone joint pain, and increase overall health and functioning. When accompanied with a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, and even bone health supplements, exercising is a great way to keep your bones strong and your joints healthy.