Exercise Benefits Bones and Joints

September 5, 2013

Physical activity strengthens bones and joints by building the muscles

that surround them and increasing circulation.

While marathon runners and other fitness fanatics may sustain aches, pains, sprains, strains or other injuries, it is a fact that consistent physical activity is beneficial to the muscular and skeletal system.

"Pounding the pavement pays dividends for bone and joint health," says Mercy Clinic orthopedic surgeon E. William Kennen. "Walking is the easiest form of exercise, and its benefits are seemingly endless."

In addition to improvements in cardiovascular health, physical activity strengthens bones and joints by building the muscles that surround them and increasing circulation to your ankles, knees and hips.

"Exercises that add the extra resistance of gravity, like stair climbing or walking up and down hills are even more beneficial than flat-ground walking or running," Dr. Kennen says.

Activities like tennis and other recreational sports that involve starting and stopping, demand more from your bones and joints, but also strengthen them over time.

"Cycling and swimming are good aerobic exercises, but they are not as beneficial to the bones and joints because they lack the positive stress associated with landing on each step."

Physical activity of any kind is always better than nothing, but there is no doubt that the more you do, and the longer you can sustain that activity, the better it is for your overall health.

"That doesn't even take into account the potential benefit of weight loss from a regular exercise program," Dr. Kennen says. "Each pound that you lose reduces everyday strains on your joints."

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