Exercise Physiology for Bone Health and Osteoporosis

Everyone knows exercising can make your muscles stronger.

Did you know that the certain types of exercise can also strengthen your bones, ligaments and tendons?

Bones respond to stimulus, that we call ‘load’. This is best described by Wolfs Law.

Wolff’s law, developed by the German anatomist and surgeon Julius Wolff in the 19th century, states that bone in a healthy person  will adapt to the loads under which it is placed.

We can add load to our skeleton by engaging in weight-bearing activities such as walking, jogging, skipping, or types of weight training.

However, Wolff’s Law also works in reverse – if we decrease load on our bones (due to injury, or laziness), the bones will decrease in density and become more brittle.

It is a normal part of ageing for our bones to become less dense as we get older. However, we find that many people are accelerating their bone loss because they become less active with age. This results in conditions like osteoporosis which put you at risk of fractures! Severe osteoporotic people can fracture their hips just by stepping off a gutter!

Too often we see older adults exercising in the pool as their only form of activity. This can be a good place to start if we have some joint pain – but it is so important for older people to exercise on hard surfaces where their bones will be loaded and therefore improve in density over time.

If you need help creating an exercise plan that is right for you or someone you know, give us a call and we’ll get you started on a safe and clinically appropriate program that’ll add years to your life (literally). You’re never too old to start a program with an Exercise Physiologist!

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