How Does Strength Training And Cardio Benefit Bone Health?
Strength training is often neglected when it comes to workout routines, with many people believing that cardio is the key to success.
However, it’s essential to include both types of exercise if you want to see maximum benefits in all aspects of your health and fitness levels. We’ve created a quick guide to help you on your way to better bones!
What is strength training?
Strength training, also known as weight training, is the use of resistance equipment during exercise. Some people like to mix this with cardio, for example, running with small weights attached to the ankles or wrists.
However, most strength training is done in isolation from cardio. Lifting free weights and using weight machines are two of the most popular types of strength training exercises.
How does it benefit the health of your bones?
During the natural process of ageing, your bones and muscles become smaller and weaker. Lots of people take part in strength training exercises to build muscles, but many of us forget that it helps our bones too.
Strength training increases the density and mass of your bones, while also building muscle around the area. Not only does this create more muscle to protect the bones, but the bones themselves will grow stronger too.
As well as experiencing less bone damage as you get older, you will also benefit from a much lower risk of developing back pain or joint pain in areas such as the knees and elbows.
Keeping your bones and overall skeletal system in good condition will prevent you from developing diseases such as osteoporosis – a common problem which occurs in older people due to a lack of bone mass and strength.
How can you include strength training in your routine?
If you are new to strength training, start off by using small weights of around 3-5kg for women or 7-10kg for men. The size of the weights will depend on your age, overall health and fitness levels and strength, so there is certainly no hard and fast rule for the weight you should be lifting.
Joining a gym is always a good start, since you can try out a wide variety of machines to find which ones work best for you.
When trying to improve the health of your bones, it’s possible to target certain areas too, and gyms provide machines which are designed to build muscles in specific areas of the body.
How Does Cardio Exercise Benefit Bone Health?
While most of us take part in cardio exercise to lose weight or get fitter, there are countless benefits to running, swimming and playing sports. As well as shedding any excess weight, feeling better within yourself and toning up, your bones will reap the benefits too.
Cardio strengthens your bones
With strong bones, it’s not as easy to break them when you’re involved in an accident or mishap. People who let their bones weaken over time will break them much more easily, particularly as they get older and the bones naturally become weaker anyway.
Exercises like running will strengthen the bones in your legs, and swimming is a great way to build strength in the arms, legs and entire body.
It reduces the risk of bone diseases
Osteoporosis can start to develop if you don’t look after your bones, so one of the best ways to keep diseases like this away is by working to make your bones healthier and stronger. Cardio exercise increases the density of your bones, which means you’re less likely to develop osteoporosis in the long term.
It can benefit specific bones
When you’re doing cardio exercise to lose weight, it’s virtually impossible to target one specific area. Many people want to get rid of belly fat, for example, but find they lose weight from their legs and arms first.
If you’re trying to target specific bones, such as those in your legs, you can exercise by running or walking. Choose the area that you need to strengthen and do exercises which work those harder than the others.
Cardio increases your flexibility
As well as all the other benefits, doing cardio exercises can help you feel more flexible. You may never become a contortionist, but you’ll find it easier to move around and bend your joints.
As you get older, flexibility decreases naturally which can make some tasks and activities more difficult than they used to be. Regular cardio will ensure your bones stay as flexible as possible as you age.
It can help your mobility
Those who don’t exercise regularly are at greater risk of mobility issues, such as back pain and joint ache.
The less you exercise, the more energy it will take you to move around – even simple tasks like walking up a flight of stairs can become difficult. In order to maintain your mobility and move around with ease, invest some time in cardio exercise five days a week.