The Weak Bones Diet

What do you call a diet that asks you to cut calories but doesn't require you to exercise? Call it weak.

A mature woman exercising with some dumbells

Medically reviewed in August 2021

What do you call a diet that asks you to cut calories but doesn't require you to exercise? Call it weak.

That's exactly what happens to your bones when you opt for exercise-free weight loss—they get weaker. And that means a slip or fall may be more likely to put you out of commission. Talk about lame.

Density decline
Weight loss has long been known to make bones lighter and less dense. Makes sense, because bones get stronger when they're routinely stressed, and with less weight to carry around, bones don't have to work quite as hard.

Enter exercise. In a study of healthy middle-aged people, those who lost weight by exercising were fortunate to report no bone-density changes in their hips or spine.

Strong stuff
When you exercise, your smart body recognizes the extra strain and tries to make sure your bones are strong enough to endure it, so weight-bearing exercises are best for building bone. We're talking about things like walking, climbing stairs and lifting weights, as well as balancing exercises. Make sure you're getting enough calcium and vitamin D, too. Bones need those nutrients to build new bone.

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