What Are the Effects of Exercise on the Skeletal System?

Exercise influences the skeletal system primarily by the impact on the bones and the enhancement of muscle mass and power, according to Nature.com. This triggers a remodeling of bones, ligaments and tendons, which are made stronger and healthier through various forms of exercise. Two of the most effective ways to improve skeletal health are exercise and nutrition.

According to an article in Sport Medicine, the best types exercise to improve skeletal health are weight-bearing activities because they force the exerciser to work against gravity. Hiking, weight training, jogging and playing tennis are considered weight-bearing activities, but activities such as swimming and biking are weight-bearing exercises too. Both men and women begin to lose bone mass as early as their 20s, and this process can be slowed considerably through a regular regimen of weight-bearing exercise.

According the Mayo Clinic, the likelihood of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become weak and brittle, depends on how much bone mass individuals attain by the age of 30 and how quickly they lose it after that. Both conditions can be influenced by regular exercise beginning in childhood and continuing after reaching peak bone mass. Individuals who are physically inactive have a higher risk of eventually developing osteoporosis.