3 doctors agree: Exercise promotes bone health

Staying active helps maintain joint flexibility and balance, promotes better posture and strengthens bones.

“The body does not like to be inactive,” says Mark Belew, MD, a BJC Medical Group orthopedic surgeon at Christian Hospital who specializes in shoulder, knee and hip replacements. “I always recommend people try to remain as physically active as they can.”

Charles Grimshaw, MD, a BJC Medical Group orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician at Christian Hospital, says “exercise that involves bearing weight on your body is stimulating to the bone and helps to stabilize the body and build new bone.”

For example, staying active with friends and family — doing activities such as coaching baseball or football — can sometimes be enough physical activity to promote bone and muscle health.

Patrick Moen, MD, a BJC Medical Group orthopedic surgeon at Christian Hospital who specializes in shoulder and elbow surgery, echoes that bones respond to movement-related stress.

“The more active you are, the stronger your bones will be,” Moen adds. He does weight training and uses a recumbent bike to keep his bones strong. “Anything that keeps you active is good,” he says. “Things that bring you joy while activating your body are good.” He also recommends weightlifting — specifically lighter weights — to build bone health.

Stretching is also a great way to maintain flexibility. “I am a big proponent of yoga because it’s helped me maintain flexibility in joints,” says Belew. “I’ve found it helps maintain flexibility so you don’t strain things as easily.”

Low-impact physical activities that keep bones strong include:

  • Walking

  • Jogging

  • Biking

  • Hiking

  • Swimming

  • Light weight training

  • Dancing

  • Climbing stairs

  • Playing tennis

  • Playing pickleball

  • Jumping rope

Learn more about orthopedics at BJC or find a specialist. Ready to see a doctor? Request a call to book an appointment.

Interested in reading more about bone health? Find out when you should see a specialist about your pain, learn about foods that support strong bones and read about what to expect after orthopedic surgery.

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