Bone density is important – it helps prevent serious injuries and makes your body overall more durable. But what about high impact exercises like running, jumping, or using a punching bag? Could these intense workouts be doing permanent damage to your bones?
Actually, it is the opposite!
Doing exercises that put a modest strain on your bones end up causing them to increase in density.
At first glance, it sounds crazy. We often think of our bones just the frame that our body is built on – these inanimate rods that hold up all our muscles and stuff. But the fact is they are just as alive as every other part of our body. And they adapt.
Did you know that when your foot hits the ground during a run, your shin bone actually shrinks up to a millimeter? It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it proves that our bones react, and that they aren’t just the steel rebar keeping us upright.
So, when you consider the reactive nature of our bones, it makes sense that high impact exercises that put more strain on them would result in stronger, more dense bones. And now there is data to back it up.
Recent studies show that people that participate in high-impact exercises, like running, hitting a punching bag, or anything else that will rattle your cage, have higher bone density than those who do less straining aerobic exercises. Workouts like running, hitting the bag, and jumping exercises like burpees can increase bone density. Same thing with playing sports like tennis, basketball, soccer, or any other sport that involves running, jumping or hitting can yield the same results.
In the same vein, low impact exercises like swimming, ellipticals, or using resistance machines – while they can increase strength and endurance – will not have any noticeable impact on your bone’s strength.
So, while a swimmer and a boxer might have a similar musculature and endurance, the boxer is likely going to have tougher bones.
So, if you are worried about having fragile bird bones, maybe consider going for a long run or a few rounds with the bag.