Weight-bearing Exercise

IMAGE If your doctor or trainer recommends weight-bearing exercise and you're not quite sure what it is, read on.

What Is Weight-bearing Exercise?

In weight-bearing exercises, your bones and muscles work against gravity and your feet and legs bear the weight. Your bones adapt to the weight and pull of the muscle during weight-bearing exercise by building more bone cells and becoming stronger. This makes your bones stronger and may help prevent osteoporosis.

How Weight-bearing Exercise Works

Weight-bearing exercises include strength-training (resistance) exercises and some aerobic exercises. Exercises that are both weight-bearing and aerobic include:
  • Jogging
  • Walking
  • Stair climbing
  • Dancing
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
Strength training exercises include:
  • Calisthenics, such as push-ups or chin-ups
  • Weight-lifting, using:
    • Free weights
    • Weight machines
    • Elastic tubing

Getting Started

Before starting an exercise program, check with your doctor about any possible medical problems you may have that would limit your exercise program. If you're new to exercise, consider making an appointment with a certified athletic trainer to help you develop a safe, effective, and enjoyable exercise program. You can find a trainer at a local gym or through a referral from your healthcare provider or a friend.


American College of Sports Medicine

National Strength and Conditioning Association


Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology

Healthy Living Unit


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