Your bones do more for you than you realise. They give you the structure and support you need to breathe, walk, carry a heavy bag or ride a bike. Your bones also protect your organs, anchor your muscles, and store and supply calcium, an essential mineral to maintain strong bones and teeth. 1,2

Like muscle, bone is a living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Young women and men who exercise regularly generally achieve greater peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) than those who do not. 3

Get a snapshot of your bone health

A bone mineral density (BMD) test is a test that measures your bone mineral density and compares it to that of an established norm or standard to give you a score. Bone density tests aren’t 100 % accurate, however the test is an important predictor of whether a person will have a fracture in the future. 4 The test can identify osteoporosis (osteoporosis means porous bone, a disease in which the density and quality of bones are reduced), determine your risk for fractures (broken bones) and measures your response to osteoporosis treatment. 4

The higher your bone mineral content, the denser your bones are, and the denser your bones, the stronger they generally are and the less likely they are to break. 5,6

T-score is one of the measures of a BMD, this indicates your bone density compared with what is normally expected in a healthy young adult of your sex. 5

Get physical and keep your bones strong

Movement helps build up your bones, making it less likely that they’ll break. It also improves your balance and flexibility, which can keep you from falling down. 7 Weight-bearing and resistance exercises are considered to be the best for your bones. 3

Exercises to promote bone growth 7

When you push against a wall, lift a weight, or pull on a stretchy band, you’re doing a kind of exercise called strength training. Not only does it make your muscles stronger, it promotes bone growth, too.

Some examples of strength training exercises:

  • Free weights
  • Weight machines
  • Floor exercises like pushups
  • Resistance bands

Try heavier weights as you get stronger. Some experts say to help your bones grow, fewer repetitions with heavier weights are better than more reps with lighter weights. Do strength training two to three times a week. Try not to work the same muscle group 2 days in a row.

Exercises to keep your bones strong

Weight-bearing exercise is the best way to keep your bones strong. Any activity you do on your feet that makes you work against gravity counts as weight-bearing exercise. 7

  • Playing and crawling are basic exercises for babies to start building bone 8
  • Great exercises for young children would be climbing, jumping and running games 8
  • Running, tennis, hockey, karate and dancing are some of the exercise teens and young adults can do to build healthy bones 8
  • Adults older than 35 can opt for a brisk walk, cross training-machines and some good old digging in the garden 8
  • If you are 65 or older you can try water aerobics or walking, if you are more adventurous you can take up ballroom dancing 9

Before you perform any exercise, please remember that you must confirm with your doctor or healthcare provider that they are safe and appropriate for you.

Listen to your body. When starting an exercise routine, you may have some muscle soreness and discomfort at the beginning, but this should not be painful or last more than 48 hours. If it does, you may be working too hard and need to ease up. Stop exercising if you experience any chest or joint pain, discomfort, light-headedness or shortness of breath and see your doctor before your next exercise session. 3

DISCLAIMER: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

Name and business address of the holder of the certificate of registration: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd,. Co. Reg. No. 1952/001640/07, 15e Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. For further information, speak to your healthcare professional. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals.


  1. Mayo Clinic. Healthy bones for a lifetime [online] March 2017 [cited April 2019]; Available from URL:
  2. Calcium: What You Should Know. [online] 15 June 2020 [cited November 2022]; Available from URL:
  3. Exercise for Your Bone Health.[online] October 2018 [cited November 2022]; Available from URL:
  4. Bone Mass Measurement: What the Numbers Mean. [online] October 2018 [cited November 2022]; Available from URL:
  5. Mayo Clinic. Bone density test. [online] [cited November 2022]; Available from URL:
  6. International Osteoporosis Foundation. What is Osteoporosis? [online] [ April 2019]; Available from URL:
  7. Build Stronger Bone With Exercise. [online] 21 January 2021 [cited November 2022]; Available from URL:
  8. Exercise. Exercise for strong bones. [online] [cited November 2022]; Available from URL:
  9. Healthy body. Keep your bones strong over 65. [online] 23 March 2021 [cited November 2022]; Available from URL: