Posted on 29 June 2022
Exercise critical to stronger bones, say experts
Want to build stronger bones? Then get exercising today, say academics.
Exercise and physical activity can improve bone strength and reduce the risk of falls. The lesson is that everyone of any age should exercise more to improve their bone health.
It’s hardly a surprise that exercise creates stronger bones. However, a lack of clarity on suitable exercises means doctors can often shy away from recommending exercise, particularly for older patients and those with osteoporosis.
This confusion could mean that people aren’t exercising enough when they should say academics.
After reviewing the evidence, an expert panel makes three recommendations for stronger bones.
Every person should regularly perform:
- resistance and impact exercise to maximise bone strength;
- activities to improve strength and balance to reduce falls;
- spinal extension exercise to improve posture and potentially reduce the risk of falls and vertebral fractures.
Age is no barrier, say the experts. “For the vast majority of adults and older adults, taking part in activities that promote muscle and bone strength is safe and will help to maintain or improve function, irrespective of age or health.”
Put simply; everyone should exercise more.
Exercise and osteoporosis
But what If you’re worried about harming your bones? You shouldn’t be, say the experts. “There is little evidence that physical activity is associated with significant harm, and the benefits, in general, outweigh the risks,” say the experts.
The team found that people with osteoporosis, their families, and carers want clear information on suitable exercises. They spoke with hundreds of people with poor bone health to learn what they wanted – and they all wanted clearer guidelines.
The study, published in the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ), is based on the findings and recommendations of hundreds of academic papers. The teams looked at the evidence and the recommendations made by other healthcare systems to understand the impact of exercise on bone health.
The paper holds lessons for us all. “Taking part in activities that promote muscle and bone strength is safe and will help to maintain or improve function, irrespective of age or health,” say the authors.
You can read the full paper, Strong, steady and straight: UK consensus statement on physical activity and exercise for osteoporosis, here.