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The best exercises for building strong bones

(KOMO file photo)

There’s no doubt about it – exercise is good for your bones. But some types of exercise are much better at building stronger bones.

Brisk walking, low-impact aerobics, most cardio machines (like stair climbers, rowers and elliptical trainers), are good for your bones.

High-impact, weight-bearing exercises are even better. These include running, jumping rope, climbing stairs, basketball and tennis, skating and skiing, hiking, gymnastics, weight training and high-energy dancing.

"They all have one thing in common, the fact that they stress the bones,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, head of the editorial board at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter. “And when you stress a bone, it builds more bone.”

Some exercises that are good for your heart and muscles aren't great bone builders.

"It' too bad, but the least beneficial exercises for bones are swimming, bicycling, yoga and casual walking,” Swartzberg said. “So you really need to do more than those to really stress your bones to make sure they're as strong as possible."

If you have osteoporosis, talk to your doctor or physical therapist before doing high-impact workouts.

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