What Runners need to know about Bone Density

What Runners need to know about Bone Density

Earlier in the week I posted an exercise to help with bone growth and had a surprising level of interest so thought I would write this blog. As always, your thoughts and comments are welcomed below.

  1. The importance of bone growth at a young age: By the time we reach our early 20’s we have already reached our peak bone density. The more dense your bones at this stage in life, the more preserves you will have as you transition into your later years. This is why nutrition & exercise is so important throughout childhood but for most runners reading this blog (myself included), this ship has sailed. There are however, proactive measures we can take to increase and preserve our bone density.
  2. Bone growth through exercise: As seen in the blog illustration, the bone structure is dynamic and ever-changing. When the bone receives ‘shock’ through exercise it breaks down & builds up it’s framework similar to micro muscle tears before rebuilding into a strong muscle. Unlike muscle, the bone takes longer to repair, so it’s important we allow enough ‘build-up’ recovery before another ‘break down’ exercise bout.
  3. Right type of exercise: Bones will respond and adapt more efficiently to sudden ‘shock’ that vibrates through the bone or high-level forces from the muscle pulling on it in different directions. This is the exercise I posted during the week, when I was slowly coming up into a calf raise and then slamming my heels down into the ground.
  4. Running is inefficient at building bone density: This might be disheartening for some, however running is a lot better for muscles and bone than a sedentary alternative. But because running is a soft impact activity (compared to slamming your heels into the ground) the bones will not trigger growth as efficiently.

I have suggested other bone growth exercises in my post during the week and I welcome any questions or shared experiences. Happy Running!

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