Exercises to build your bone strength in your 30’s

Throughout our lives, our bones are gradually but continually being added to (built) and reduced (broken down). By the time men and women reach their 30s their bones will have achieved their maximum strength and density. After this point, bones slowly lose density; bones gradually demineralise more than they are rebuilt.

The main role of exercise for bone health in 30‐something year old people is to maintain the bone density and strength that was built up in the years prior, and minimise bone loss as they grow older. Some high intensity activities may even lead to modest bone accrual in certain areas.1

A successful exercise program for bone health should include weight‐bearing and strength training exercise.

Weight‐bearing exercise

It is recommended to do 30 minutes of weight bearing activity at least four times a week. Each half hour activity can be completed in one stretch or broken up into shorter intervals, as the benefits for bones are the same.2 Examples of weight bearing exercises include dancing, aerobics, hiking, jogging/running, skipping, tennis and hiking.3 To help you stay motivated and maximise the benefits to bone health, choose activities that you enjoy.

Strength training (resistance training)

It is recommended to do strength training at least twice a week.2 This involves moving your body, a weight or some other resistance against gravity. This is also known as resistance training and may include lifting dumbbells or using elastic exercise bands and weight machines. Strength training also includes lifting your own body weight, for example doing push‐ups or sit‐ups, and functional movements such as standing and rising up on your toes.3

Yoga, Pilates and Tai chi

These activities may also play a modest role in maintaining bone strength4 as well as improving balance and flexibility.3

Circuit training

Researchers have found that alternating between vigorous high‐impact aerobic workouts and exercise stations consisting of push‐ups, sit‐ups, arm curls with dumbbells and presses with barbells, has a positive effect on bone health for young adults and premenopausal women.1