Does walking increase bone density?
Walking is a great form of exercise because it’s low-impact, can be done almost anywhere, and doesn’t require any special equipment. But what many people don’t realize is that walking also has some major health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, helping to maintain a healthy weight, and increasing bone density.
What is Bone Density?
Bone density refers to the amount of calcium and other minerals in your bones. Healthy bones are rigid and strong, but as you age, your bone mineral content decreases. This causes bones to become less dense, more brittle, and more likely to break. The risk for developing osteoporosis (a bone-weakening disease that causes bones to become less dense and more likely to break) increases significantly when bone density drops below normal levels.
The Benefits of Walking on Bone Density
Because walking is a low-impact exercise, it’s ideal for improving overall bone health. Walking helps improve your muscle strength, which in turn strengthens your musculoskeletal system. It works majorly on increasing bone density.
You must be wondering how does it help with increasing bone density. I can explain that. Here are a few ways in which walking effects bone density
Increasing blood flow
The main benefit is in its ability to increase blood flow and the subsequent nutrition and oxygen it brings to your bones. More specifically, walking is thought to enhance how ‘bone-forming cells’ known as osteoblasts build bone tissue by several thousand percent in a matter of minutes after physical activity.
Walking helps you lose weight
People who are overweight or obese have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis due to the added body weight. When you lose weight you lower your chances of having this disease.
Walking also releases endorphins which are chemicals that cause feelings of pleasure and pain relief. Endorphins promote overall wellness, encouraging you to work more towards your goal, be it weight loss or any other, along with a better night’s sleep, for example.
Gravitational assistance stimulates growth
Walking provides two types of gravitational assistance. The first type occurs when you walk up an incline with your heel coming down on a higher surface than the front of the foot. This forces the bone ends to bear more weight, making them stronger.
The second type is experienced when you walk downhill with your muscle activity increasing at the front of the knee, while the back of the knee is bearing less weight. This causes increased activity in bones that are usually not bearing weight, which also leads to stronger bones and better joint mobility.
Friction induced strengthening
When you walk on uneven surfaces, your muscles are forced to work harder to maintain your balance. This can lead to increased strength in the bones supporting those joints, which helps them remain healthy and strong, reducing the risk of fractures. The moderate amount of movement done to over come the gravity between feet and land is enough to stimulate the bone growth and circulatory absorption.
Muscular activation increases bone mineral absorption
Walking on different surfaces can help you increase bone mineral absorption by up to sixty percent. This is because your muscles and bones adapt better to these movements. When you walk, the impact of your foot against the ground sends shockwaves through your bones along with the muscle action enhancement. This forces your bones to adapt and become stronger over time, which in turn leads to an increase in bone density.
Consult a Doctor
Walking is a great form of exercise because it’s low-impact, and can be done almost anywhere. Make sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if you have health issues. Walking may be just the thing for you. It is very effective and has minimal side effects. In case you need to see a doctor you can find Best Orthopedic Surgeon in Karachi and Doctors Hospital.