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Eunice Kennedy Shriver
National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
What's the Problem?

What Can I Do?
Increasing physical activity for better
bone health
Increasing Physical Activity for Better Bone Health

Bones are living tissue. Weight-bearing physical activity causes new bone tissue to form, which makes bones stronger. girls playing basket ballThis kind of physical activity also makes muscles stronger. When muscles push and tug against bones during physical activity, bones and muscles become stronger.

Weight-bearing activities are those that keep you active and on your feet so that your legs carry your body weight, including:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Climbing stairs
  • Jumping rope
  • Playing team sports, such as basketball, soccer, and volleyball

Older teenagers can build even more bone strength through weight training, but they should check with a health care provider before starting any type of training.

Some activities, such as swimming, do not provide weight-bearing benefits. But these activities are still good for cardiovascular fitness and overall good health.

How much physical activity do tweens and teens need?

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. To read more about these recommendations, visit the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005

More Milk Matters - Physical Activity Resources
Need more information about strengthening bones through physical activity? Check out the Bone Up on Bone Loss! fact sheet.
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