Weight-bearing exercises are activities in which your bones and muscles work against the force of gravity while in an upright position. Examples include walking, jogging, hiking, playing tennis, and dancing.
The strain placed on the bone during such exercises triggers cells that build bone, resulting in higher bone mineral density. The more load you place on your bones, or the higher the impact of the activity, the greater the benefit to your bones — but only if you don’t injure yourself in the process.
People who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or have previously broken a bone should check with their doctor before engaging in high-impact, weight-bearing activities. More than likely, they’ll be encouraged to engage in low-impact, weight-bearing activities, such as:
- Low-impact aerobics
- Tai chi
- Using an elliptical trainer
- Using a stair-step machine
- Standing up and sitting down in a chair
- Performing leg raises, squats, and toe stands while holding onto a sturdy object
Individuals who are unable to walk can benefit just from standing up periodically.
And individuals who are unable to stand can achieve some of the benefits of standing weight-bearing exercises by lifting light weights while seated or performing chair calisthenics, in which leg lifts and other exercises are done using one’s own body weight for resistance.