Bone density is important for keeping your bones healthy and strong as you get older. Weight-bearing exercises are your best bet for building and maintaining bone density. Any type of exercise that bears the weight of your body on your spine, legs, feet and hips is considered weight bearing. In addition, strength training builds bone density in your upper body. Adding a medicine ball to your routine increases the benefits and shakes up your routine.
Jumping is an ideal weight-bearing exercise. You might wonder whether the impact is actually harmful to your bones. Unless you already have a bone disorder, this impact builds your bone density because your bones respond to the stress by getting stronger. Holding a medicine ball while you jump increases your total body weight, which increases the benefits to your lower body. Hold your medicine ball at chest level and jump up and down, much as you would when jumping rope. Do jump squats while holding the medicine ball with both hands.
Stepping up and down, whether on a flight of stairs or an exercise step, helps improve the bone density in your legs and feet. Many stepping moves involve holding a set of dumbbells in your hands. Instead, substitute a medicine ball held in front of your body with both hands. Hang on to the medicine ball as you step to increase the positive impact to the bones in your lower body. Alternate the leading leg to build bone density equally on both sides of your body.
Lower Body Strength Training
Using weights for strength training is a good way to build bone density and complement traditional weight bearing moves. Many exercises target your lower body, helping form strong bones in the area. Hold a medicine ball while you do squats and lunges. Walking lunges are particularly good choices as they involve lifting and planting your foot on the ground repeatedly, rather than standing in place and lunging down and up in the same spot.
Upper Body Strength Training
Many weight bearing activities focus on your lower body. However, many women lack healthy bone density in their upper bodies, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Strength training for your chest, arms, back and shoulders helps keep the bones in these areas strong. When you do strength-training moves, your muscles work in resistance to the weight of the medicine ball, which improves bone health. Several upper body moves work well with a medicine ball. Mix and match your favorites for the most benefit. Power drops, medicine ball pushups and medicine ball slams are ideal options.
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.