How Does Weight Lifting Make Bones Stronger?

If you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis or have worried that you could be someday, chances are you've heard that weight-bearing exercises strengthen bones. While this is true, it might seem confusing to think that weak, thin, and brittle bones could be helped by putting more weight on them. If you're curious how this mechanism works, read on to discover why weight lifting is good for bones.

Bones are Living Things

Many people think that once bones finish growing as you reach adulthood, they become static and don't change. The reality is, bones are made up of living cells, just like the rest of your body. When cells become weakened or damaged, they're replaced by new ones.

Unfortunately, as people get older, and especially for those who develop osteoporosis, these old cells are often not replaced or are replaced more slowly. This is how bones become weaker and thinner over time.


Lifting weights improves the strength and density of your bones by encouraging a process called osteogenesis. In short, this is one of the mechanisms that encourages your bones to develop new cells.

With weight lifting or any other weight-bearing exercise, the strain and stress on your bones stimulates your body to produce new, healthy bone cells in a hurry. The body recognizes the strain and wants to protect itself, so it develops new bone, even if you already have osteoporosis. As a result, a regular routine of lifting weights can help to keep your bones strong, regardless of their current condition.

Starting an Exercise Routine

If you're interested in lifting weights to keep or make your bones strong, you should always consult with a doctor first. Chances are your doctor will be happy to hear your decision and will lay out a careful plan for you that will prevent injury. They may even have you start with a physical therapist if your bones are already weakened so you don't harm yourself.

In any case, once you develop an exercise plan, the important thing is to keep it up. Lifting weights will only improve the density of your bones for as long as you're doing it, so plan on making a lifelong commitment to a regular exercise plan.

Weak and brittle bones don't have to be a fact of life, even as you enter your golden years. With a doctor's help, proper nutrition, and a good exercise plan, your bones can support you for your entire life. Look into treatment options, such as Radius.