People usually reach there peak bone mass by the time they are 20 years old. After that people lose bone mass, however, like muscle bone is a living tissue that can be built up and conditioned. Those who exercise regularly will have better bone mass than those that do not and continuing to exercise throughout life will help preserve bone mass and thus bone health. Bone mass or density is synonymous with bone health.
In general exercises that resist weight are best. These are exercises where a person is supported by their hands and feet. Exercises such as walking, jogging, stair climbing and any sport where you are on your feet walking or running such as tennis, basketball or soccer. Also, push-ups, pull-ups and weightlifting are good exercises for bone health. Examples of exercises that do not meet the criteria are swimming and cycling. While these are good cardio-vascular exercises they do little to build bone mass because the body is supported by something other than your hands or feet, in other words you do not resist gravity with these exercises.
Many of the above exercises will not be appropriate for older people especially if you already suffer from osteoporosis or have other health conditions such as heart disease. For older people low impact exercises that resist gravity are best. Walking is probably the easiest and best exercise for older people, but resistance exercises in water are also good. It is important to find an exercise routine that is enjoyable. Exercise can become a social event at a club, a class or even a shopping mall, where groups can get together and exercise while socializing. This approach can create something to look forward to, especially for older people, so they are more likely to participate on a routine basis.
Exercise in general will help with over all health and help maintain flexibility balance and coordination which in turn will help to prevent accidents such falls which can cause broken, fractured or chipped bones. Exercise at any age will build bone mass and help with bone health. However, the exercise routine needs to be appropriate for each individual’s personal health situation. People with osteoporosis should avoid high impact exercises and exercises that involve a lot of bending and twisting. Simple stretching exercises and slow moving relaxing exercises such as tie chi can work well in these situations. Everyone should involve stretching in there exercise routine to help maintain flexibility. As always a person should check with there health provider before beginning any exercise program especially if suffering from osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease or any other serious health condition.