Time to strengthen your under 25 bones

While a loss of bone density is not likely to be on your mind, your teenage years are an important time to invest in bone health. How you treat your bones now, while you are still young, will help determine your bone health in the years that follow. Most people will reach their maximum bone strength and density between the ages of 25 and 30, and bones will begin to very gradually lose their mass thereafter.

Through healthy lifestyle practices during your teens and early 20s, you can have a positive influence on your bone mass and help ensure good bone health for later years. To build and support bone strength it is important to consume adequate amounts of calcium, maintain normal Vitamin D levels and avoid smoking, known to negatively affect bone health. Specific types of exercise are also important for healthy bones. So, here’s how you can boost your bones.

Exercise to build bone strength

Try for 30 minutes of weight bearing activity at least four times a week. Bones respond when they are forced to bear more weight than they are used to. Good weight bearing exercises include brisk walking, jogging, basketball/netball, tennis, 
dancing
, impact aerobics
 and stair climbing.

Build up your strength training

It’s good to do muscle strengthening activities at least two times a week such as lifting weights, using weight machines and 
performing exercises that use your own body weight, like push‐ups or squats. Although the focus on these exercises is on strengthening and building muscles, they also put stress on bones that helps to build bone.

Go for more variety

To get the most out of these activities, and to challenge bones and muscles, you should vary your exercise routine and ensure that it progresses over time. Do this by increasing the degree of exercise difficulty, the amount of weight used or the height of jumps. Exercise is also more beneficial to bones when it is performed in short intensive bursts. Boot camp style classes or circuit training combining weight‐bearing and muscle strengthening activities, performed in short bouts, may be effective bone‐builders for people in their 20s or teenage years.