Resistance is Good

In this day and age, the importance of exercising to gain a healthy body has long been programmed into us. However, what you may not know is that different exercises are good for different parts of the body. While strengthening our muscles is important, we must not forget about our bones.

Weight-bearing exercises are movements that force you to work against gravity and during which your weight is borne by your legs and feet. These are good for many reasons.

First and foremost, it helps with your bone health. When you do these exercises, your bones will respond to the stress placed on them and become stronger. It also improves your metabolism and muscle strength when you lose muscle mass, your metabolism tends to slow down. Those who exercise regularly tend to have a higher peak bone mass, which is important because we may start losing bone around our 30s.

Research has shown that regularly doing weight-bearing exercises helps us to achieve peak bone mass, delay the onset of bone loss , and reduce the rate of bone loss. In fact, exercising regularly from as young as possible could offer protection to our bones in later years. This is because young bones are most sensitive to loading, which will be beneficial in achieving peak bone mass. For example, a teenager who engages in a weight-bearing exercise such as running will have much stronger bones than inactive peers of the same age and size; studies further suggest that these benefits could continue into later years.

Another study looked into the effects of weight-bearing exercises on balance and bone mineral density (BMD) of aged women.

Participants were randomly assigned to either the control group (no exercise) or the exercise group (an hour's exercise twice a week for 20 weeks). The results: people in the exercise group did better than those in the control group in terms of balance. The BMD of the exercise group also increased slightly. In short, regular weight-bearing exercise is good for building and maintaining bone health, so start moving today to get a head start!

Weight-bearing exercises are classified into two categories, namely high impact and low impact. High-impact exercise helps you build and maintain strong bones. Examples of such exercises include dancing, hiking, jogging, jumping rope, tennis, aerobics, soccer and volleyball. Low-impact exercises, such as using an elliptical training machine or power-walking on a treadmill, can help improve your bone strength as well. However, if you suspect that you are at risk of breaking a bone, consult a doctor before you start any movement programme.

An effective movement programme should include either type of weight-bearing exercises. It's best to exercise daily, or at least most days of the week, and target to sweat it out for 30 minutes a day in one session or accumulated over multiple sessions.

To help you get started, there are various websites on the kind of weight-bearing exercises that are suitable for you, even one you might enjoy! There are also useful apps that you could download onto your smartphone, such as a timer to keep track of your progress. And music definitely helps with your workout, so make use of free music streaming services such as Spotify to create a playlist that motivates you.

Finally, match your diet to your movement programme. Eat calcium-rich foods dairy products such as milk and yoghurt; dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale to nourish your bones. Having said that, it's good to drink two glasses of Anlene milk every day, after breakfast and before you go to bed.

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