Weight-bearing exercise

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine, Orthopedics

Clinical Definition

Weight-bearing exercise describes activity that puts weight on bones, such as walking, playing football or lifting weights, helping to stimulate the growth of new bone and to slow bone degradation, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and improving the health of joint cartilage. Weight-bearing exercise can be high-impact (running, hiking, jumping rope) or low-impact (stair-step machines, treadmill walking, low-impact aerobics).

In Our Own Words

Weight-bearing exercise can be low-impact, such as stair-step machines, or high-impact, such as running. Bearing weight helps build strong bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis, the ''brittle bone'' disease that can affect both men and women as they age.  Weight-bearing exercise can also improve joint cartilage health and helps with weight control, and that can lighten the load on your joints. Thirty minutes or more most days of the week are recommended. Those who are sedentary should check in with their doctor before starting any exercise program.

Common Types
  • Jogging
  • Walking
  • Elliptical training
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