arm of a person lifting weights

The Strengths of Weight-Bearing Exercises

Yoga, dance, boxing, aerobics, even team sports – all forms of physical activity present numerous benefits for your overall health.

However, specifically integrating weight-bearing exercises into your training program will present benefits that other exercises may be lacking.

Weight-bearing exercises are exercises in which your body fights against gravity to complete a movement. When participating in these exercises, more bone cells are produced as a result of the bones adapting to the impact of weight and various muscle pulls, thus decreasing the risk of bone fractures.

Adding weight-bearing exercises to your training program can help strengthen various parts of your body:

  • Muscles – Weight-bearing exercises help build muscles that support and protect your joints, increase overall balance, and even improve your reaction time, all of which can help prevent potential injuries.
  • Flexibility –Stretching your limbs through activities like yoga can help your joints reach their full mobility, keeping them happy and working like a well-oiled machine.
  • Brain – Exercising frequently helps provide more blood to the brain, which helps sustain cognitive performance.
  • Heart – With physical activity, your heart will pump more blood to oxygenate your entire body. Eventually, your heart will become stronger and not have to work as hard to circulate blood while you are resting, thus decreasing heart failure symptoms.
  • Bones – New bone tissue is consistently forming while old tissue is continuously being removed. As we age, tissue is often removed quicker than it’s formed, which is why people tend to have weaker bones when they’re older. Weight-bearing activities create the stress needed to stimulate the formation of new tissue.

Activities like swimming and cycling are great aerobic exercises, but they aren’t considered weight-bearing exercises and don’t present these same benefits, especially when it comes to improving bone density.

Some examples of weight-bearing activities include:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Elliptical machine
  • Stair climber
  • Basketball
  • Body-weight exercises
  • Weight machines
  • Free weights
  • Exercise bands
  • Tai chi
  • Core exercises

Remember to get clearance from your primary care physician before beginning any new workout program.

If you are unsure of proper exercise form or don’t know how to incorporate exercises like these into your current regimen, visit a physical therapist or an exercise physiologist to create a program that’s right for you. Practicing proper form protects your joints, bones and muscles from injuries and engages the appropriate muscle groups needed to complete an exercise.

bone and joint healthbonesclassesexercisefitnesshealthmen's healthsenior healthwellnesswomen's health