More than 43 million adults are affected by low bone mass, a risk factor for developing osteoporosis or suffering fractured bones later in life (1). Nutrition is part of protecting strong bones, but bone-building exercises are just as critical.
Not every type of physical activity is effective for helping bones stay strong. Just as strength training is a great way to build strong muscles, exercises that require you to work against the force of gravity, called weight-bearing exercises, are great for helping you maintain bone health.
Activities like walking, jogging, or strength training are some examples of weight-bearing exercises that help to support strong bones. But one type of exercise that stands out for its ability to boost bone strength is high-impact, weight-bearing activity such as jumping.
Researchers have singled out jumping exercises as one of the most effective workouts for strengthening bones. In a recent paper published in the journal Sports Medicine, researchers analyzed the results of six different studies that measured changes in bone strength among women participating in weekly jumping exercise.
Their results showed that the best routine for strong bones involved a minimum of 40 jumps per session, practiced at least three times per week (2). This type of routine only takes a few minutes to complete, but can offer a big payout for improving bone health.
How can you incorporate jumping exercise into your routine? One way to is to jump rope. Jumping rope is a fun workout to get your heart pumping.
Here are seven jump rope exercises you can try:
1. Double bounce
Jump twice for each time you bring the rope around your body.
Swing the rope twice around your body with every jump.
3. Forward and backward
Instead of jumping straight up and landing in the same spot, jump up and land in front of your original position. Then, jump backward with the next swing of the rope to your starting position.
4. Ski jumps
With your feet together, hop to the left of your starting position and land with your knees bent. On the next swing of the rope, hop to the right.
5. Hop on one foot
Instead of landing on both feet, jump with one leg at a time and alternate sides.
Imagine you’re doing jumping jacks. Jump your feet out wide with one swing of the rope, then jump in and bring your feet together on the next swing of the rope.
7. Swing the rope backward
Instead of swinging the rope forward in front of you swing it backward and jump over the rope as it passes behind you.
Jumping is one of the most effective types of exercise for strengthening bones, and jumping rope is a fun way to add the benefits of jumping to your exercise routine. But remember, in addition to exercise, don’t forget bone-building nutrition. Be sure to provide your body with the right nutrients daily, including protein, calcium, and vitamin D.
- Wright NC, Looker AC, Saag KG, Curtis JR, Delzell ES, Randall S, Dawson-Hughes B. The recent prevalence of osteoporosis and low bone mass in the United States based on bone mineral density at the femoral neck or lumbar spine. J Bone Miner Res. 2014 Nov;29(11):2520-6. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2269.
- Zhao R, Zhao M, Zhang L. Efficiency of Jumping Exercise in Improving Bone Mineral Density Among Premenopausal Women: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2014;44:1393-1402.