Weight-bearing exercises are when our bones and muscles work against the forces of gravity while bearing the weight of the body. Weight-bearing exercises are some of the most effective ways to maintain strong bones, especially the bones of the hip and spine. Examples of weight-bearing exercises include walking, jogging, climbing stairs (step-ups), push-ups, body-weight squats and lunges, burpees and pull-ups.
Many weight-bearing exercises that increase heart rate also strengthen the heart and lungs, along with muscles and bones. Everyone should participate in weight-bearing exercises to maintain strong bones and for heart health.
Keep in mind that swimming and cycling are not weight-bearing exercises as the water buoys the body and cycling is seated so the legs are not bearing the weight of the body. Cycling and swimming are excellent exercises for our heart and lung health, we just need to ensure we include weight-bearing exercises through-out our regular weekly routines.
So how often should I perform weight-bearing exercises? Osteoporosis Canada recommends 3-5 days of the week for a total of 150 minutes per week. Remember walking is the safest and simplest form of weight-bearing exercise and requires virtually no equipment at all other than a good pairs of walking shoes. If finding the time is a concern, try to spread your walking out throughout the day – it does not all have to be done at once. Parking your car a little further away from the door to the grocery store and the buggy return area are simple ways we can add more walking into our daily routine.
Don’t forget to come to class each week to get a full dose of bone and muscle building exercises too!