Weight Bearing Exercise 

How does weight-bearing exercise keep my bones strong?
Getting enough of the right type of exercise is essential to maintaining great bones. That type of exercise is referred to as weight bearing. Throughout your lifetime your skeleton is constantly changing. Your skeleton is rebuilt a little bit every day when old bone is removed and new bone laid down. When the loss equals the building of new bone, a balance is reached and bones stay strong. If more bone is removed than rebuilt then the thinning and fragility associated with osteoporosis can be the result. You can help maintain strong bones with exercise. The cells that lay down new bone are stimulated to build bone faster when the skeleton is challenged with weight bearing or resistance exercise.

Inactivity is a contributing factor to osteoporosis. All osteoporosis treatment and prevention programs should include regular weight bearing exercise in addition to adequate calcium and vitamin D intake.

How much weight bearing exercise do I need?
A minimum of three 30-minute sessions per week is recommended.

What is weight-bearing exercise? 
Any exercise that works against gravity or resistance is weight bearing. Some examples are: walking, running, walking on a treadmill, stair climbing, elliptical training and dancing. If you are not sure if an exercise qualifies as weight bearing, a simple test would be to ask yourself the question: is it done while on my feet? For example, swimming and biking are great aerobic exercises, but are not weight bearing. An exception to this test is resistance exercise done with stretch bands or weights. These activities are challenging the muscles attached to your bones and will encourage bone growth.

Safe and effective weight bearing exercise techniques can be learned in "Bones and Balance" an exercise class created especially for those with osteoporosis or low bone density. This class is offered at Haywood Regional Health and Fitness Center. Please call 828-452-8080 for more information regarding class schedules.