Like Santa, bones know when you’ve been sleeping, and they know when you’re awake. They know when you’ve behaved or misbehaved. They know when you’ve been exercising–so go out and walk! In all seriousness, bones are aware of what is happening in your body (not Skynet aware, but more like The Sixth Sense aware). What’s truly amazing is that the bones adjust accordingly, based on your exercise routine. When you exercise, your bones help retain minerals and will be there like a good friend supporting you through your activities into maturity. If you do not exercise, your bones stop caring about minerals and will hang out on the couch with you eating potato chips. Your bones do as you do, not as you say.
What Exercises Help the Bones?
Impact activities are the most successful at strengthening the bones. Sports like soccer, track, volleyball and other sports that require a significant amount of running and jumping will give the best results. Weight-lifting is also useful when used in conjunction with other impact activities. All of the fun stuff you used to do around the neighborhood as a kid: tag, football, racing, jump rope, and toilet papering the neighbor’s house at night (after all, one must jump to get the proper paper placement in the tree) are great for strengthening the bones.
“I’m Too Old to Play Those Games!”
No, you’re not. It is never too late to get your body up and moving. It may sound counterproductive, but even if you have problems such as osteoporosis or weak bones, it is better for your body to stay mobile rather than stay at rest. Luckily, the older you are, the less impact you need to do to strengthen your bones. In fact, a brisk walk a few times a week can be all you need to start getting stronger. You can become stronger still by throwing in a hip shake and a side step while you’re walking. This type of movement can also help prevent falls in the elderly.
Shake It Up
If walking briskly while thrusting out the glutei seems daunting, there are other ways to help strengthen bones. While not for everyone, there are vibrating platforms one can use to build bone. According to Dr. Keith DeOrio, your entire skeletal structure is affected by vibration platforms and “Your muscle spindles fire secondary to the mechanical stimulation produced by the vibrating plate, and this rapid firing of the muscle spindle causes a neuromuscular response that leads to physiological changes in your brain as well as your entire body.”
The studies on the vibration platforms are few for now, but there have been no downsides to using it. People 65 and older seem to benefit from just 12 minutes a day a few times a week. It is even suggested that doing squats while standing on the platform can increase speed and agility. While helpful, be mindful that it isn’t such a significant amount you will be begged to participate in the summer Olympics, but chances are your bones and body will feel better and stronger.