To build up bone density, the exercise must make your muscles pull on your bones. These are called weight-bearing exercises. Some of them are:
- Brisk walks, jogging, playing tennis, dancing, or other weight-bearing activities such as aerobics and other sports
- Careful weight training, using weight machines or free weights
Weight bearing exercises also:
- Increase bone density even in young people
- Help preserve bone density in women who are approaching menopause
To protect your bones, do weight bearing exercises 3 or more days a week for a total of over 90 minutes a week.
If you are older, do not do high-impact aerobics, such as step aerobics. This type of exercise may increase your risk of fractures.
Low-impact exercises, like yoga and tai chi, do not help bone density very much. But they can improve your balance and lower your risk of falling and breaking a bone. And, even though they are good for your heart, swimming and biking do not increase bone density.