Weight Bearing Exercises: What Are The Benefits

08/24/2021 | 6 min. read

Healthy Directions Staff Editor

Healthy Directions Staff Editor

When it comes to getting enough exercise each day, there are plenty of different types of workouts that you can incorporate into your routine. However, weight-bearing exercises in particular carry many important benefits that you may want to take into consideration.

Weight-bearing exercises are those that make you move your body against gravity while still staying upright and can either be set for high or low-impact. High-impact exercises can help build bones and keep your bones strong, but if you have issues with your bones you may want to avoid strenuous activities.

Low-impact weight-bearing exercises are a safe alternative as they are still a great way to keep your bones healthy and strong.

There are plenty of different weight-bearing exercises that you can easily incorporate into an existing workout routine, and you might even already be doing some of these exercises without realizing it.

Some of the most common examples include:

  • Elliptical machines
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Jogging or running
  • Stair climbing or stair-step machines
  • Walking on a treadmill

Depending on your fitness goals and the current state of your bones and joints, incorporating more weight-bearing exercises into your daily routine might be a great way to accelerate your progress.

It is always a good idea to speak with your doctor before you start trying out new forms of exercise, and this is especially the case if you have bone or joint problems that put you at an increased risk for injury.

How Weight-Bearing Exercises Can Make You Stronger

Weight-bearing exercises can offer benefits to many different parts of your body. Gaining a better understanding of what these benefits are and how they work can help you decide whether this type of exercise is something you want to start trying.

Weight bearing exercises can help strengthen the following parts of your body:

Your muscles

Weight bearing exercises can help build muscle, and your muscles in turn work to support and protect your joints. Stronger muscles can also help increase your overall balance and may even help improve your reaction time. A better reaction time may help you prevent potential injuries, and better balance may benefit you in this way too.

Flexibility

Weight-bearing exercises like yoga can work to stretch out your limbs and may help your joints reach their full mobility. More mobile joints can keep your body functioning at a higher level.

Your brain

When you get frequent exercise, it works to provide more blood to your brain, and this means you may experience an improvement in cognitive function and performance.

Your heart

Getting enough physical activity makes your heart pump more blood to keep oxygenating your entire body. Over time, your heart will become stronger such that it will not need to work as hard in order to complete this function.

As you continue to get exercise, it will become easier for your heart to circulate blood while you are at rest, and this can decrease symptoms of heart failure.

Your bones

Your body is constantly working to form new bone tissue while old bone tissue gets removed, and as you age, the old bone tissue tends to get removed more quickly than new bone tissue can be formed.

This is a major contributing factor to weakening bones as you age, and weight-bearing exercises help put your body under the appropriate level of stress so that the formation of new bone tissue can be stimulated.

Examples of Weight-Bearing Exercises and Activities

There are plenty of different weight-bearing exercises and activities that you can choose from. With such a wide variety of options, it might be easier than you think to start incorporating this type of exercise into your lifestyle.

Common examples of weight-bearing exercises include:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Walking
  • Jogging or running
  • Hiking
  • Elliptical machine
  • Stairclimber
  • Basketball
  • Strength-training exercises
  • Weight machines
  • Free weights
  • Exercise bands
  • Core exercises
  • Tai chi

It is important for you to keep in mind that proper form is a key component of staying safe while working out, and a key component of getting results. Exercising with improper form could lead to serious injury in the worst-case scenario, or could simply halter your progress.

You should always speak with your doctor before beginning any new workout programs so that you can get the best professional health advice pertaining to your individual needs.

When beginning a new workout program, you may want to consult a personal trainer or physical therapist if you need extra guidance regarding proper form.

Are Weight Bearing Exercises a Safer Choice?

Not only do weight-bearing exercises offer many different benefits, they may also be a safer alternative to other forms of exercise for people with osteoporosis or similar health concerns.

Walking, dancing, low-impact aerobic exercise, elliptic training, stair climbing, or gardening are all examples of low-impact weight-bearing exercises that are generally recommended for people with bone diseases. These exercises directly work on the bones in the legs, lower spine, and hips, and they may work to slow down mineral loss.

These weight-bearing exercises can also improve cardiovascular health and overall well-being.

Weight-bearing exercises, specifically low-impact exercises, may also be a better option for people who do not have osteoporosis but have suffered from previous hip or joint injuries.

Low-impact exercises are believed to help reduce your risk of experiencing musculoskeletal injuries, making them a better option for people who cannot withstand forms of exercise that are more physically demanding.

Low impact exercises can also be a great way to get started on your fitness journey if you have never had a regular workout routine before. Starting with low-impact exercises before slowly working your way up may make it easier for you to transition into a more active lifestyle.

Low impact exercises have been shown to offer the same or similar benefits to high-impact exercises, so you are not missing out on anything by choosing more gentle activities on your body. Plus, with such a wide range of low-impact exercises to choose from, it may be easy for you to find a workout routine that you actually enjoy and can stick with.

Consistency is considered to be a critical part of achieving the desired results, so finding a workout you enjoy may help you maintain a proper schedule.

Keep Your Body Moving

Although low-impact weight-bearing exercises are largely considered to be a safer option, it is still essential to consult your doctor before starting a new workout routine, especially if you have bone or joint problems.

Getting enough physical activity is an important part of staying healthy and strong. But if you do have issues with your bones or joints, weight-bearing exercises might be especially beneficial for your health.

Weight-bearing exercises are meant to make you move your body against gravity while staying upright, and there are both low impact and high impact weight bearing activities. Low impact weight-bearing exercises are thought to be a generally safer alternative to high impact exercises as they are more gentle on your body and joints.

The Bottom Line

Always take the time to consult your doctor before beginning any new workout programs because your doctor can work with you to come up with a plan aligned with your goals or concerns.

Proper form is a key component of a safe and successful workout, and if you have questions about proper form when beginning a new workout program, you may want to consult a personal trainer or physical therapist for assistance prior to starting your program.

Working out with improper form can raise your risk of injury and may interfere with your progress at the very least, so it is important to make sure you know what you are doing.

Speaking with your doctor about your fitness or health goals can help you develop the right game plan to achieve your desired results, and your doctor will also be able to suggest exercises that may be best aligned with your goals or concerns.

Healthy Directions Staff Editor