I’ve written before about the fact that walking alone is not generally recommended as an exercise to build bone density. You can read more about that HERE.
Bones like to be loaded, and strength training along with weight bearing impact activities are known to be the most effective exercises at encouraging bone growth. However, I know that many of you love to walk, so I want to show you how to make your regular walk a little more osteogenic.
Most people who walk for exercise usually walk at the same pace for the same amount of time. If your body is used to walking at the same pace and intensity, it is generally accepted that your bones are not being loaded or challenged enough to cause a significant change in bone density. So how do we increase the load while walking? And i’m not talking about strapping ankle weights on for your daily constitutional.
There are a few different ways to increase the load on your bones while walking. One is simply increasing your walking speed. You could build up to this by adding in little spurts of speed on your normal walk, try walking at your normal speed then step up the pace for a minute or two before returning to normal speed again. The goal would be to gradually add more and more speed spurts over time.
Another way to increase the load or intensity on your walks is to include more hills and stairs. Make things even more challenging by walking quickly up them and slowly down to increase the demand on your muscles (and subsequently bones).
To really ramp things up on your walk, try some strength training pit stops. Every now and then stop and perform 10 squats or lunges, or 10 push ups against a park bench. You could even include some higher impact activities like squat jumps or hops, if you’re able to. Your bones will thank you.