5 exercises to strengthen your bones

Weight training isn’t just about building muscle. It can also help build bone density, says the Fit Pharmacist Holly Louise.

There are plenty of good reasons to include weight training exercises as part of a regular workout routine.

At the top of the list is building stronger bones, which may prevent the onset of osteoporosis as we age.

Any time you strengthen your muscles, you strengthen the bones, and weight training exercises have been shown to help build bone density in people of all ages more effectively than aerobic exercise.

The goal of strength training is to safely lift a weight that is heavy enough to challenge the muscles, but not so much that your form is compromised. Over time, you should aim to increase the weight you lift as your muscles get stronger.

There are many different exercises you can add to a routine designed to improve bone strength, but five basic ones that you can do anywhere include:

Weighted squats

(Pictured above)

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, with a dumbbell in each hand.

Slowly lower yourself down by bending the knees until your hips are below a parallel position with the floor. From here straighten the legs and extend the hips to go back to the starting position.

Dumbbell Rows

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend forward while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor.

Let the dumbbells hang in front of you. Lift the dumbbells to your torso (in line with your belly button), and then lower back down.

Weighted Lunges

Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand, with your feet hip-width apart.

Step backwards with one leg and flex your knees until your rear knee almost touches the ground. Bring your foot back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg.

Weighted Sit Ups

Lie on the floor with your knees bent, holding a weight on your chest. Use your abs to sit up and press the weight above your head.

Return to the starting position while lowering the weight.

Lateral Raises

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, and holding a dumbbell in each hand.

Keeping your arms straight, lift the weights out to your sides until they are at shoulder height. Pause and then slowly lower them back down to your sides.

Ideally, you’ll want to lift as much weight as you can safely control for 10-12 repetitions of each exercise, before you rest and repeat a total of three times.

Holly Louise, aka The Fit Pharmacist, is a registered pharmacist, certified personal trainer, online coach and ambassador for INC Sports. Find out more about Holly Louise on InstagramFacebook and at The Fit Pharmacist.