Walking is one of my favorite bone-strengthening activities — and I hope it becomes one of yours. Most days I get my fair share with Tucker,
the new puppy I am co-parenting. Tucker keeps me on my toes by exploring the neighborhood on our walks. Being out with Tucker also lets me “amp up” my walking routine. Whenever Tucker stops for a sniff, I take the opportunity to hop 10 times on one leg to stimulate even more bone growth.
Anything you do to increase impact during exercise will help build bone density and strength. Here are 22 ways you can add both extra impact and variety to your walking routines. They may even inspire you to come up with some fresh ideas of your own!
1. Walk up stairs.
2. Walk down stairs — a nice heavy step down impact stimulates bone nicely.
3. Try speed intervals — alternate between walking quickly for 30 seconds and then slowing down for several minutes.
4. Walk up a hill and mindfully downhill with a nice healthy stomp down the hill.
5. Step up and down off a curb.
6. Walk a little faster than usual — focus on creating a greater impact
7. Try heel drops — lift up on your toes and then drop down onto your heels.
8. Add a more challenging walk once a week.
9. Take a hike — literally!
10. Walk backwards for a block, you will get a new view on the world and a greater body awareness. Incorporate a few dance moves.
11. Hop on both legs (A great goal is to do 10-20 reps several times a day to get in 100 hops).
12. Hop on one leg for 30 seconds.
13. Add a few old-school jumping jacks.
15. Use a weight vest/ankle weights when you walk.
16. March in place for a minute or two.
17. Aim to add balance exercises while walking (if you are able). For example, by placing one heel in front of the toes of the other foot and moving slowing forward with baby steps; or by stopping to balance on one leg for a minute.
18. Walk your dog.
19. Add upper body movements — like arm pumps.
20. Try lunges or squats or stomping to break up your walk.
21. Add intervals of running or jogging.
22. Take any physical activity you do, and make it bigger! Exaggerate your movements.
Exercise is an important part of my Personal Program for Better Bones. It builds bone, reduces stress and it’s free and fun. For more tips on strengthening your bones through movement, read my article on exercise and bone health or try my Exercising for Bone Health DVD for a chance to try five different bone-building exercises, with a special section on walking.
You can try Dr. Brown’s comprehensive supplements in her at-home bone health program, developed with Women to Women. Get her exclusive formulations along with her detailed lifestyle and diet guidance, plus telephone support whenever you need it. Learn more about the Personal Program for Better Bones.
We created the Better Bones blog as our forum to express opinions and educate the public about natural means of supporting and improving bone health and overall wellness. As part of this forum, we sometimes discuss medical issues and medications, and their effects on bone health in general. However, we cannot advise readers about specific medical issues in this forum. If you wish to obtain advice from Susan E. Brown, PhD, about your specific bone health and nutritional concerns, please visit our Consultations page. Other specific medical questions should be referred to your healthcare provider.