Health

Strengthen bones with easy exercises

Taking a walk can help reduce risk of hip fractures

Weight-bearing exercises put just the right amount of pressure on your body, encouraging bone growth due to osteoblast (bone cells in charge of bone growth) stimulation.

You can do low intensity or high intensity moves to strengthen bones, as long as you use your body weight and adjust your workout to suit your fitness level.

Remember to land softly and keep your form in check.

Last but not least, if your bones are already thinning, check in with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

TAKE A WALK

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who walk to exercise regularly reduce their risk of hip fractures by 30 per cent.

And the longer the distance, the more protection you get.

To take it up a notch, try hiking. The uneven terrain will help improve functional movements and increase hip bone density.

Plus, the scenery and fresh air will lift your mood instantly.

DO BODYWEIGHT SQUATS

Squats are great because it targets a big muscle group.

As you strengthen your muscles, your body improves its balance and is less prone to falls and injuries.

The exercise helps increase flexibility in the hips, knees and ankles too.

Keep your knees behind your toes as you lower yourself to prevent any knee strain.

TAIJI

A study in the Physician and Sportsmedicine journal stated taiji can slow down bone loss in women who have passed menopause by up to 31/2 times.

The slow and graceful movements will help build coordination, balance and stronger bones.

YOGA

Yoga is a full body workout that can strengthen bones and muscles in the whole body, particularly parts that are not normally used in day-to-day activities.

Common weak areas like the hips, spine and wrists are often worked on in yoga studios.

The more you practise, the stronger and fitter you get.

HIIT

If you are reasonably healthy, high-intensity interval training will be a power trip for your bones as you work through jumps and squats within the routine.

For the time-crunched, you can simply get a jump rope and start skipping at home.

A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that by thrice-weekly high impact jumping exercises can strengthen knee cartilage in women who have osteoarthritis.

But do not wait till you are menopausal before you start working out - prevention is better than cure.

This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg).

MEDICAL & HEALTH