Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
Bone is living tissue. It is always going through a process called remodeling. In this process, old bone is broken down and is replaced with new tissue. Many things can affect this process and leave you with bones that are weaker and less dense. Some things that can affect bone remodeling are:
Fortunately, we can also do things to make our bones stronger.
Regular weight-bearing and resistance exercise helps build muscle. It also makes bones strong and helps them stay that way. Exercise makes the muscle pull against the bone. This stresses or stimulates the bone, and the bone gets stronger and denser. There are 3 main types of exercise: aerobic, weight-bearing, and resistance. Some activities can be more than 1 type.
In aerobic exercise, you constantly move large muscles in the legs, shoulders, and buttocks. This makes you breathe more deeply. It also makes your heart work harder to pump blood. These two things make your heart and lungs stronger. Some types of aerobic exercise are:
In weight-bearing exercises, your bones and muscles work against gravity, and your feet and legs bear the weight. The weight and pull of the muscle make your bones build more bone cells. This makes your bones stronger. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises are:
Resistance exercises use muscle strength to build muscle and make bones stronger. Some examples are:
Before starting an exercise program, check with your doctor about any health problems you may have that could limit your ability to exercise.
National Osteoporosis Foundation
The President's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Public Health Agency of Canada
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx#toc. Accessed January 21, 2021.
Bone remodeling. University of Washington website. Available at: http://courses.washington.edu/bonephys/physremod.html. Accessed January 21, 2021.
How much physical activity do adults need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html. Accessed January 21, 2021.
Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Accessed January 21, 2021.
Skeleton keys. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History website. Available at: http://anthropology.si.edu/writteninbone/young_old.html. Accessed January 21, 2021.
Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Last Updated: 1/29/2021