WHAT IS BONE DENSITY?
Bone density is a measurement of the number of minerals, like calcium and phosphorous, that are present in a specific area in your bones. These minerals are important for building and maintaining strong bones. Bone Density is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest amount of bone density possible and 1 being the lowest. When you have too little calcium in your bones, it makes it more likely you will get osteoporosis, which is a condition where your bones become very thin and may even break. Osteoporosis can make it difficult to heal broken bones and may lead to other health problems. On the other hand, if you have excessive calcium built up in your bones it may cause other complications like “Hypercalcemia” which is when your body absorbs too much calcium and it gets stored in your tissues and organs. This can lead to kidney stones, heart arrhythmia, muscle cramps, and neurological damage. Too much calcium in your body also increases your risk of getting osteoporosis.
Aquatic exercising in general does not affect bone density in a significant way. In fact, studies have shown that swimmers have the lowest bone density levels compared to other athletic groups. That is because water creates an almost weightless environment, and as such the bones do not get any significant pressure or force from the water. And for the bones to increase in density, they have to be subjected to constant forces (load). Aqua fitness does not give the bones enough weight to affect their density in a significant way. On the other hand, weight-bearing land exercise, such as walking, jogging, or running, increases bone density. But if you are working out in waist-deep shallow water, for example, then your upper body would create a gravitational force that is greater than the flotation force created by water for your lower half. In this case, you would be placing a limited load on the bones in your legs and pelvis. As a result, that could help increase bone density in that specific area.
As mentioned above, exercising in a weightless environment like water does not help much with bone density. But exercising in water can have a positive effect on bones in a different way. Namely by strengthening the muscles and ligaments which support the skeletal system. This is particularly true in the case of bone injuries. The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on the joints and bones during exercise, which can help minimize the risk of injury and the development of osteoarthritis. In addition, aqua aerobics increases blood circulation, which helps bring more oxygen and nutrients to the bones and muscles. This promotes healing and leads to a better overall health for bones and muscles.
So aquatic exercise does not significantly affect bone density, but land exercise does. Aquatic exercise does help the body recover faster from bone-related injuries, while land exercise could make that injury worse. Because of that, it is important to have a balanced approach in your fitness program and do a bit of both when you can, if you want to have healthy bones. But if you suffer from a bone injury, then you should avoid land exercise altogether until you are recovered.
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