How Does Exercise Help the Skeletal System?

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Exercise helps the skeletal system by encouraging synovial fluid generation, which helps bones and joints move, and increasing bone density, which makes bones grow thicker and stronger. Exercise promotes blood circulation and elevates the heart rate as well, which makes blood flow uninhibited through the body’s skeletal system. Even small amounts of exercise can be tremendously beneficial for the skeletal system and may ward off health problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

The skeletal system includes bones, ligaments and cartilage. Although these structures perform distinct roles, exercise provides short- and long-term benefits for all. According to the National Center for Biological Information, the benefits that exercise bring to the skeletal system vary depending on the type of exercise, duration and intensity. Aerobic exercise, such as running, walking, swimming and tennis, stimulate the production of synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant to help joints move. Synovial fluid also helps keep joints hydrated and flexible. In turn, this prevents them from drying out and becoming susceptible to tears and strains. Engaging in weight-bearing activities, such as strength training and running, naturally stress the bones. This stress, provided it is not too much, stimulates the bones to produce osteoblasts, which in turn build new bone and make existing bones stronger and denser.