Visit Us
Ankeny, IA
Our Hours
M-Th 8:30am-6pm / Fri 8am-3pm

Exercise and Bone Health

How can exercise improve my bone health and help be age better?

One of the hallmarks of aging is decreasing bone density. You reach your peak bone density around the age of 30, and it decreases a certain amount every year after that. Our bones are always going through a renewal process involving removing old bone cells and regenerating new ones. Both of these processes are going on at the same time, but as you age, the process of regenerating bone decreases resulting in an overall decrease in bone density instead of maintaining or increasing bone density. The cells that regenerate bone make collagen and other non-collagen proteins. The collagen is what provides bone its strength and resistance to deformation. There are also changes in the structure of the collagen in the bone as we age that lead to increased stiffness and brittleness. Lots of other factors such as genetics, hormones, peak bone mass earlier in life, drugs or medication use, other medical conditions, nutrition, and yes, even physical activity can impact bone mass.

We all know that our bones get more brittle and are more likely to fracture as we get older which is why so many people shy away from physical activity as they get older because they don’t want to hurt themselves.

The question is, how do you prevent further excessive loss in bone mass as you age?

You can’t control all of these factors leading to where you are now, but you can do something moving forward!

Exercise is a great way to help increase bone density as you age. Certain kinds of exercise can help to stimulate the generation of new bone cells. Bone responds to something called “mechanical loading” (which is muscle contraction or bearing weight) by increasing bone formation. The increase in bone formation is proportionate to the amount of mechanical loading or strain put on the bone. Furthermore, including rest periods in-between the periods of time where strain is present (more of a dynamic workout situation) increases the bone formation even more. Exercises that induce strain that is unlike normal strain put on the bone (think multidirectional jumping or versus walking or running) induces the formation of bone. Another reminder, like all processes in the body, certain nutrients are necessary for optimal function. Therefore, adequate protein, calcium, and vitamin D is necessary to experience the full benefits of exercise for bone health. Furthermore, hormonal status and function is important to maintain good bone health. 

Here are some tips for maintaining bone health as you age:
– Maintain a healthy body weight: a body weight that is too high or too low can negatively impact bone health. Many don’t think about low body weight but that can negatively impact bone health as much as a higher body weight.
– Eat a healthy diet with adequate protein, calcium, and vitamin D. An adequate vitamin D status is required for optimum absorption of calcium in the gut, so it doesn’t hurt to eat both at the same time.
– Incorporate light weight-bearing aerobic activity: jumping, tennis, volleyball, hiking, etc. Remember to always start light and slowly increase.
– Incorporate light weight-bearing resistance training: Grab some small weights or use your body weight and do various exercises to increase your muscle strength and stability. Remember to always start light and slowly increase.
          – Here is a website with some great exercises for increasing strength while maintaining stability:

– Mix up your movement: Like we discussed above, dynamic exercise is best for increasing bone density. Create a workout plan with your doctors that changes up the types of exercises you are performing.

Remember to always talk to your doctor if you have or are at risk for a bone-related disease, are at risk for falling or fractures. It is always a good idea to run ideas past your doctor before trying to implement your own workout or diet plan.


Nutrition + Gut Health

How important is gut health and can diet really play a large role in my gut health?Your gut, also known as the entire human intestinal tract, is home to over 100 trillion microbial cells. That’s more than the estimated number of cells that the average man has in his entire body! This complex community of microbes can influence physiology, metabolism, immune function, and synthesize certain vitamins and essential amino acids. Consequently, they are also involved in modulating diseases such as type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. It has been documented that drastic diet changes can induce large, temporary shifts in the gut microbiota in as little time as 24 hours.

What can happen when many factors such as poor nutrition, stress, heavy alcohol use, and heavy metal toxicity damage the intestinal lining? The junctions between the cells of the gut lining are supposed to be tight, but they begin to spread apart and allow microorganisms to pass through into the blood. This is known as leaky gut syndrome. Altered gut microbiota, otherwise known as dysbiosis, is linked with this increased permeability of the intestinal lining. Studies have also linked intestinal dysfunction and gut dysbiosis to traumatic brain injuries such as a concussion. It is not clear the exact correlation, but a correlation is present.

What can you do to improve your gut health?

  • Eat a diverse diet of fresh fruits and vegetables (these are rich in fiber and essential nutrients)
  • Opt for whole carbohydrate sources such as potatoes, whole grains, and root vegetables instead of eliminating carbs completely (rich in fiber and beneficial carbohydrates)
  • Avoid processed foods that contain simple sugars, inflammatory fats, and additives
  • Consume probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt with live cultures, sauerkraut, kombucha, and pickled vegetables
  • Consume probiotics and enzymes in supplement form to fill the gaps in your diet
Skip to content