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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What exercises can I do to build my bone density?

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  • Eric Rosario

    Exercise Physiologist

    Master of Applied Science by Research into the Effects of Strength Training on Postmenopausal women. I have been involved in strength training for 67 years … View Profile

    For bone density, it is important that you put pressure through the line of the bone, and that exercise is specific to the area requiring additional bone density. For instance, doctors will tell you walking is good exercise for building bone density. It might help in improving your bone density in the legs, but it is not going to improve bone density in your arms, shoulders and spine so it is important that exercise is specific. Also the higher the intensity of the exercise, the greater the effects. For example weight training can be used to work the bones all around the body, but many people define handling two pound dumbbells as weight training however for it to be effective it is very important that exercise is progressive.

    You should always start low, especially if a person has got osteoporosis. You don't start off by using heavy weights and you gradually build up to heavier weights. There are two types of exercise, concentric; where you're lifting up the weight and eccentric; where you're lowering the weight. Now obviously, you can lower more weight than you can lift up. For example, lets suppose you can lift 50 kilos in a particular exercise, you could instead lift 70 kilos with somebody helping you to lift it up, and then you lower it slowly. What this does is bend the bone to a very minor, minute degree. The greater the intensity, the greater your bone improvement.

    Also of importance, is the speed at which the force is applied. For instance, jogging or jumping in a spot will be more helpful than just standing or even walking. Useful exercises where you stand on a small stool and jump off and land on your feet will help increase your bone density more than just standing.

  • Merendi Leverett

    Exercise Physiologist

    Merendi Leverett is our founder of Merendi Health.Graduating from Central Queensland University in June 1998 with a Bachelor of Human Movement Science, and from Queensland … View Profile

    What I normally suggest to people is resistance-based exercises. That can range from anything from performing exercises with your own body weight; squats or push-ups, through to using resistance tools, like, resistance bands or small hand weights. It doesn't have to be a high level resistance program. As long as you are loading the muscles that connect to the bones, you will be building up your bone density.

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