It’s the classic excuse for couch potatoes… ‘I’m not fat I’m just big boned’! Well, was it not for their lack of musculature, evident stores of adiposity and lack of physical activity, they may well have had a point. Unfortunately for most of these people, the big boned excuse doesn't wash. In fact, it is the more muscular and physically active members of society who could blame their weight on bone mass.
Sadly for some, physical activity is not an option if degenerative bone conditions set in such as Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid arthritis, but ironically it is physical activity that might have helped delay or even counteract the onset of bone conditions. Diet is fundamental to bone health with Calcium, Vitamin D and magnesium leading the way with regards to bone mineral density and health. However impact movements such as running, lifting and even walking can stimulate bone growth and strength.
Martini and Nath (2009) explain that if an individual’s muscles become bigger, stronger and more powerful, there will be a proportionate increase in bone size and strength as well as enlarged bumps and ridges on their bones. These ridges have grown in order to anchor the stronger muscles more effectively as well as withstanding the increased forces associated with stronger, more powerful muscles.
Therefore regular exercise is an important stimulus for maintaining normal, healthy bone structure, and unfortunately those people that can’t exercise or aren’t doing so through choice, run the very real risk of having brittle or thin bones and reduced mobility in later life.
Martini, F, H & Nath, J, L, (2009). Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology. 8th Ed. San Francisco: Pearson International Edition, Benjamin Cummings.