Women start to lose bone mass as early as age 35, so it's imperative to start following preventive measures as soon as possible. After all, our bones carry us around our whole lives; they need a little love in return.
Keep your skeleton strong by eating the right foods, cutting back on alcohol and caffeine, and performing the following exercises 2 to 3 times a week.
What they do: Improve bone density of the lower body and hips; strengthen hip muscles and glutes.
How to do them: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping the right leg straight, step your left foot 3 feet to the left into a lunge (don't go lower than a 90-degree angle); simultaneously lift both arms straight out in front to shoulder height. As you push off your left foot to return to the start, sweep your arms out to the sides and back down next to your hips; repeat on the right. Repeat 8 to 12 times per side, alternating legs with each lunge.
What they do: Improve hip-bone density; strengthen the quads and glutes.
How to do them: Sit on the edge of a hard chair with ankles directly below your knees. Cross your arms over your chest, engage your abs, and lift the top of your head up toward the ceiling. Press into your feet and come all the way up to standing until both legs are straight, then return to the starting position. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
What they do: Improve bone density of the spine; strengthen deltoids, trapezius, and triceps.
How to do them: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Fold a resistance band in half, holding the middle with your right hand and one end in your left. Extend your right arm straight to your side, palm down, at shoulder height; simultaneously raise your left forearm so that it's parallel to the floor and your elbow is directly in front of your shoulder (palm down). Keeping your right hand where it is, draw your left elbow across your chest. Slowly return to the start and repeat 8 to 12 times. Switch and perform on the left, 8 to 12 reps.
What they do: Improve bone density of hips and lower back; strengthen quads.
How to do them: Start with feet shoulder-width apart, core tight, knees soft, and head and chest lifted. Bend your knees, then swing your arms forward and jump straight up in the air, landing with knees slightly bent and the entire sole of each foot on the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat. Jump 10 times.
What they do: Improve bone density of the spine; increase core stability; strengthen lats, deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids, and biceps.
How to do them: Sit on the floor with your legs extended, knees slightly bent, feet together, and core tight. Your spine is lifted and perpendicular to the floor. Wrap the middle of a resistance band around your feet, and hold the ends in your hands. Keeping your spine tall and upright, bend your elbows and pull back until your hands are just above your hip bones. Return to the starting position. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
What they do: Improve bone density of the upper spine; strengthen trapezius and rhomboids.
How to do them: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Grasp a resistance band with both hands in the middle, then separate your hands to about shoulder-width apart. Now extend your arms in front of you, palms down, to shoulder height. This is the starting position. Simultaneously open arms to the sides, keeping them at shoulder height and elbows slightly bent. Bring arms back to start. Repeat 8 to 12 times.