How High-Impact Exercise Actually Strengthens Your Bones

How High-Impact Exercise Actually Strengthens Your Bones

We’ve known for a long time that the more impact we put on our bones the stronger they get. The New York Times points to a few studies that show just how much and how hard we need to jostle our bones to keep them healthy.

Picture: Matthew Venn

You might think that doing high-impact exercises such as jumping is bad for your bones, but subjecting your bones to stress makes them stronger. The problem is that they need quite a bit of force — about 4.2 Gs — to strengthen the bones into old age. This includes exercises such as running a kilometre in six minutes or jumping from a 40cm box. So, to keep your bones healthy for a long time, you’ll need to work them:

So, Dr. Tobias says, young people and healthy adults should probably pound the ground, at least sometimes. Sprint. Jump off a box 15 inches or higher at your gym and jump back up. Hop in place. A study by other researchers published in January found that women between 25 and 50 who hopped at least 10 times twice a day, with 30 seconds between each hop, significantly increased their hipbone density after four months. Another group of subjects, who hopped 20 times daily, showed even greater gains.

Researchers are still figuring out more of the specifics on this one — especially in how to get the benefits of these high impacts when your bones aren’t capable of handling it — but for now it seems like putting a little stress on your joints is a good thing.

Why High-Impact Exercise Is Good for Your Bones [The New York Times]

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