How to Increase Bone Density With the Right Exercise
If you’re a man suffering from chronic low testosterone, you may need to increase bone density to maintain an injury-free, active lifestyle.
Your bones’ matrix is broken down during your daily activities, and, if you’re healthy, collagen cells (the building blocks of bone tissue) are filled in to restore and strengthen our skeletal structure through a process called remodelling.
Low testosterone in men can hinder that process of generating new bone tissue, resulting in a failure to heal the bone that was worn away — the Mayo Clinic describes that degenerative process:
“Your bones are in a constant state of renewal — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass by their early 20s. As people age, bone mass is lost faster than it’s created.”
Put another way, low testosterone and the resulting low estradiol (a necessary form of estrogen in men’s bodies derived from testosterone) can slow needed healthy bone regeneration, creating a gap between the amount of bone mass lost and bone tissue that can be regenerated — that means bones begin to weaken.
Low Bone Density and Osteoporosis
Over time, degeneration without sufficient creation of new bone tissue could lead to a bone condition known as osteoporosis.
Bones become brittle and fragile — people become increasingly prone to injuries, especially to the hips, wrists, and spine.
Other factors related to your general health will play a big part in being able to maintain or gain bone mass, including the following:
- Nutritional intake
- The right exercise
Notice it says, “The right exercise.”
Not all exercise is equal when your purpose is to increase bone density.
Necessary Characteristics of Exercise to Increase Bone Density
When you push your body’s limits through physical stress and strain, your body will respond by strengthening the stressed and damaged areas, both muscle and bone, which is why exercise is so beneficial.
You break your body down by working out, and your body rebuilds itself stronger.
Proper exercises for improving your bone health need to target a certain body location and be of a certain intensity to effectively increase bone density.
Exercises need to focus on a specific part of the body — higher bone mineral density has been found in the specific parts of athletes’ bodies that are loaded with weight while performing their respective sports.
The exact weight required for bone growth is not precisely known, but it must be more than what is normally experienced in day-to-day activities.
Again, those performing high-impact sports, such as gymnastics or powerlifting, were found to have significantly higher bone mineral density.
Your body is meant to respond to strain by making those specific points that are being taxed stronger.
Suggested Exercises That Can Increase Bone Density
Research shows that bone mineral density (BMD) has a definite correlation to lean muscle mass, so healthy testosterone levels and lean muscle are another key to a healthy increase in bone density.
Weightlifting, in particular, has an immediate impact on testosterone levels, and, if performed correctly, can perhaps best meet the above needs of specificity and overload to help increase bone density.
Exercise Can Increase Bone Density, But See Your Healthcare Professional First
It’s definitely advisable to seek advice from your medical provider to determine a safe weight with which to exercise, and also to see if a bone scan is needed — injury due to loading already-weakened bones would doom any exercise program right from the start.
(Also, consider osteoporosis screening as part of your regular preventative health care.)
You Need Proper Nutrition to Increase Bone Density
To increase bone density and fight the advancement of osteoporosis, monitor your intake of calcium and vitamin D — your bones need these necessary building blocks to heal and become stronger.
Dairy products, like milk, cheese, and yogurt, are excellent sources of calcium, as are many leafy greens, like spinach and kale. Plant-based milks, like almond and soy, are also good substitutes if fat intake or lactose are concerns.
Vitamin D intake can be increased by eating more fish and other seafoods, as well as through fortified milk, juices, and cereal — check your labels when you shop.
You can also get these nutrients from supplements, but your diet can be easier to monitor — you’re more likely to forget to take those pills than you are to forget eating.
You Can Increase Bone Density, But You Have to Maintain It
Be aware that improvements in bone mass or bone mineral density will be lost if you stop exercising properly — you have to keep working to slow the loss of bone mass.
Also, it’s important to be aware that the early increase in bone density will be rapid, but improvements will taper as strength increases — bone density will not be gained at the same high rate as at the beginning of an exercise program.
Bone Remodelling Is More Efficient With a Healthy Hormone Balance
All that said, your efforts can be short-circuited by initial poor hormonal health — low testosterone can hinder bone remodelling.
Fractures due to weakened bones or osteoporosis are painful and can seriously interfere with your daily activities.
We’d like to help prevent that from happening and help you live life to your maximum potential.
Click the button to take our Low T Symptoms Quiz — find out if your body’s hormonal balance has you primed to increase bone density through better exercise and nutrition.