BONE HEALTH: QUANTITY AND TYPE OF EXERCISE
The less one exercises, the more one is likely to develop weak bones. This is especially true for women because of their particular hormone levels and patterns. Bones that weaken tend to do so as one ages. However, this may not be due to age itself but rather to the propensity for reduced activity later in life. What kind of exercise is best? Weight-bearing exercise. This category includes those activities that place a stress on bones, which in turn causes a strengthening response in those bones, just like muscles. Examples of such activities are walking, running, dancing, muscular strength-training, and sports based on any of these. Examples of non-weight-bearing activities are swimming and bike-riding, because in these activities one’s relation to the ground remains relatively constant and so the bones bear less stress. If the bones are needed less for bearing stress such as one’s own weight, they tend to weaken over time, which is why astronauts lose bone mass while in outer space.
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