Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that can help grow and strengthen bones. The stronger the bones in your hips and legs get as you walk, the better they can protect you from fractures. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, walking can reduce your risk of hip fractures by 30%. Walking not only lowers your fracture risk, but it also benefits your heart, boosts your mood, helps you maintain a healthy weight, improves circulation, improves muscular coordination, and improves your general health.
In this blog, I’ll discuss how walking helps strengthen bones, how long you should walk for, how fast you should walk, and how walking benefits our joints and bones.
How does walking make your bones stronger?
Walking is often understood as being excellent for bones and increasing bone density. The majority of study shows that it increases bone mineral density in the femoral neck and hip area. Because many people are prone to fractures in this area, walking can be advantageous to the majority of people. “BMD (bone mineral density) at the femoral neck rose only during long intervention durations (of six months to one to two years),” according to a study published in late 2013. In other words, don’t expect to see a significant change in your femoral neck bone mineral density in less than six months.
Furthermore, the efficacy of walking on bones in other regions of the body is debatable. Walking “had no significant effects on BMD (bone mineral density) at the lumbar spine and at the radius [forearm] in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women,” according to the study described above. Walking does not give enough stimulus for the spine or upper body, according to a meta-analysis published in 2008. In other studies, bone density in the calcaneus (heel bone) and the lumbar spine has improved.
Overall, Walking helps to strengthen muscles. Your joints will be less stressed if your muscles around your joints are stronger. For example, having weak thigh muscles has been linked to an increased incidence of osteoarthritis in the knee. Small gains in strength in these muscles, which walking can help with, can lessen the risk dramatically. So, why does a tiny bit of walking have such a significant influence on back pain? There could be a variety of reasons for this. Walking can help strengthen back muscles, improve posture, and increase flexibility, all of which can help to relieve back pain.
Working vast muscular groups, such as the legs and core, also aids in the stimulation of impulses from major nerves to the brain. The impulses from the larger nerves are hypothesized to block pain signals from the smaller nerves, resulting in a reduction in pain. Furthermore, an increase in “feel-good” brain chemicals like serotonin and endorphins makes you feel better and helps you manage pain better.
What Should Be The Duration, Frequency And Walking Speed
On a regular basis, you should go for a quick walk. Walking for 30 minutes at least five times a week is suggested by the government of Australia. If you have more time and energy, though, you may enhance this and strengthen your bones even more.
Walking at a speed of 4 km/h is the recommended minimum for bone health. Step rate can be used to assess your walking speed. A 5 kilometre per hour step pace is around 120 steps per minute. Counting each right foot step will give you an approximation of your step pace. Ten right foot steps in ten seconds is 120 steps per minute or 5 kilometres per hour.
It’s also a good idea to add a few jolts to your walk to help your body’s bone-strengthening process. You could, for example, run up ten steps to get ten jolts on the way up and ten jolts on the way down. A steep hill is another wonderful option to include in your walk. You may also try including leaps into your walk, for example, walking for five minutes, then jumping every 30 seconds for the following ten minutes, then walking for another five minutes, and repeating the jumps.
Walking backwards or side-stepping can also put fresh stress on your bones, as long as you do it safely! You may try introducing a three-to-five-minute rhythm of alternate walking. For example, walk sideways one way then the other for 30 seconds, then walk backwards for 30 seconds, 30 seconds on your feet balls and 30 seconds on your heels.
You can also stress your bones by using ankle weights, hand weights, or a weighted vest to provide more burden to them, causing them to create more cells for you.
You might want to try walking with poles to feel more comfortable while also activating your spinal muscles.
The Benefits Of Walking For Bone Joints
Walking has a number of beneficial impacts on your bone joints.
Effects on Muscles
Walking strengthens and builds the muscles in the hips and legs, preventing bone and joint deterioration. This lowers the likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries, which can contribute to osteoarthritis later on.
Effects on Joints
Walking is a low-impact workout that is gentle on the joints and does not put undue strain on them. Furthermore, it improves joint circulation and supplies oxygen and minerals to the joints, ensuring their long-term health. Walking on a regular basis improves joint flexibility.
Effects on mobility
Walking on a daily basis helps you retain your sense of balance and prevents you from falling. It also allows you to stay mobile for a longer period of time as you get older.
Effects on The Spine
Walking every day helps to strengthen the spine and improve posture. This also aids in the reduction of lower back discomfort and maintains the proper alignment of your spine.
Effects on Bones
Walking helps to maintain bone mass while also reducing cartilage wear and tear. This helps people with arthritis maintain their bone health by preventing the occurrence of arthritis.
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