Build Better Bones 

Principles of exercise for bone health

Bone is a dynamic tissue that responds to changes in mechanical loads by altering its mass, structure and/or strength. Below we discuss some of the key principles behind exercise for bone health.

Principle of Specificity: skeletal adaptations to loading are site-specific and not systemic in nature. Thus, the prescription of exercise must include targeted activities that are known to directly (via gravitational loading) or indirectly (via the action of muscle pulling on bone) load the skeletal sites of interest, particularly the hip, spine and wrist, which are the most common fracture sites.

Principle of Progressive Overload: the loads or strain imparted to bone via gravitational or muscle forces must exceed the typical loading patterns encountered during everyday activities, and as bone adapts the loading stimulus must be increased progressively. 

Principle of Reversibility: any positive skeletal adaptations resulting from exercise training will be progressively lost once the program or stimulus is discontinued.The findings from a 16-year non-randomized study involving a multimodal exercise program in early postmenopausal women with osteopenia found that at least two sessions per week was the minimum effective dose to positively influence bone over the long-term.

What about other forms of exercise? 

Regular walking for leisure in isolation and other forms of low or non-impact aerobic activities such as cycling and swimming have been shown to have little or no effect on preventing age-related bone loss in postmenopausal women.

The reason behind this is that these activities typically impart low level (or customary) loads (strain) on bones that are not sufficient to exceed the required threshold for skeletal adaptation.

However, these forms of exercise have tremendous muscle, cardiovascular and general health benefits.

Build Better Bones – exercise class 

Our upcoming online exercise class is specifically designed with the best available research and key exercise principles in mind. 

The class will consist of a warm up, resistance exercises, flexibility, balance and coordination. 

This class will be delivered by an experienced Chartered Physiotherapist who will safely guide and coach you through the exercises, providing easier or more difficult exercise options based on your current fitness level.

Leave a reply