When we think of working out to get stronger we mostly think about our muscles, maybe our cardiovascular system. But the bones benefit too, and keeping those strong is one of the most important things we can do for our body.

Young people don’t necessarily think about strengthening the bones a lot, since osteoporosis and other bones issues usually affect the older population. But of course, the course of bone health begins in our younger years, which means that taking care of them is important for everyone.

In fact, a person’s bones generally continue to gain mass until the age of 30, and then after that they begin the aging process where they actually start to lose mass. Hard to imagine, but it’s true according to the National Institutes of Health. So bascially if you do nothing to strengthen them you could be on the way to experiencing a fracture of break in the future.

However it’s never too late to work on strengthening the bones, so that is good news. And one way to do this it to workout. Both lifting weights and cardio exercise like running can strengthen the bones.

Some scientists from the University of Missouri recently did a study on bone density and focused on men between the ages of 30 and 65 years old.

The men in the study who had done high-impact exercise or resistance training throughout their life had higher bone density than the men who had not. The measurement was one component of bone strength stronger than the men who had not.

According to the study author Pamela Hinton, Ph.D., the bones are constantly rebuilding themselves. When you apply any sort of force to the bones through exercise you give them the opportunity to adapt to the force and then become stronger. Running of course provides the direct resistance of force, and lifting weights creates it by the way that the muscles pull on the bones when you contract the muscles.

When the bones feel the pressure of the force, which sends the signals to build more bones. And it doesn’t take a ton of exercise to get these benefits either. For most active individuals working out a few days a week is going to provide plenty of the necessary movement to keep the bones strong. Of course popping a calcium supplement is going to help as well, since your body needs the calcium to rebuild the bones.

Additionally, staying active and exercising can help to keep your body healthy in other ways that are going to prevent falls in general, which is also a bonus in old age. Keeping the muscles strong and the equilibrium balanced will help keep you upright and functioning as much as possible. We all have those days at the gym where we don’t feel like we could go as hard as usual, but at least you can always keep in mind that you did something good for your bones.