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Building Bones
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Gravity is essential for building and maintaining bone mineral density. That’s why weight-bearing exercise —any sustained activity you do against the force of gravity—is recommended for strong, healthy bones.

Strain put on bone triggers specialized cells to increase density. The benefit is site-specific, so running creates bone growth primarily in the legs while playing tennis increases growth in the dominate arm. How much bone you build depends on several factors, including heredity, age sex, and diet.

The best bone-building exercises include weight-bearing/high-impact/resistance activities like running, jumping rope, basketball, volleyball, tennis softball, skiing, skating, stair climbing, hiking gymnastics, and weight-lifting.

If your primary goal is to build bone strength, vary your activities and divide your sessions into short bouts of 15 to 20 minutes of intense weight-bearing exercise separated by at least 8 hours.

UC Berkeley Wellness Letter

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Reprinted with persmission from Signs of the Times, July 2006. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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