Exercise Can Heal Broken Bones
April 29, 2014
Human Femur

Exercise can help bones like the one above – the femur – get stronger after a break. Photo credit: australianmuseum.net.au

If you’ve ever broken a limb, your instinct may be to avoid exercising or stressing that limb long after it heals. You may avoid push ups because of a fractured wrist, or maybe you don’t run because you once broke your femur. If this is true for you, please reconsider: exercise can make those fragile bones stronger.

When exercising, bones emit calcium and release ATP to surrounding cells. Other cells’ ATP levels rise as well, triggering the formation of new bone tissue in and around the exercised area. Running, weight lifting, fast walking and aerobics can all stimulate bone regeneration precisely because they put stress on the bones and muscles. You won’t get the same benefits on the elliptical machine.

Start Slow

Your recovery from a broken bone depends on the severity of the break, but minimum recovery time is usually 90 days. After that, with your doctor’s blessing, start with walking, and gradually move on to more vigorous movements.

Exercise Can Slow Osteoporosis

We have long known that exercisers enjoy more dense and healthy bones well into old age. This same healing process can help people with already brittle bones get a bit stronger through exercise. People suffering from osteoporosis need to be more careful to avoid high impact moves, but they can still do weight-bearing aerobics and weight lifting.