When it comes to maintaining the health of our joints, muscles and bones, exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. By giving your joints, muscles and bones the extra support that they need in adult life, you’ll help to prevent and repair any damage caused by age and day-to-day wear and tear, ensuring you stay strong and active through the years.

In conjunction with a balanced diet, regular activity is important to support the health of your musculoskeletal system. Inactivity can make the natural deterioration of the musculoskeletal system worse. This is because exercise is great for telling our muscles, joints and bones to ‘keep busy’. Whenever our body senses a mechanical strain (e.g. the impact of striking your foot on the pavement when running, or bearing the load of a barbell), signals are sent to our joints, muscles and bones instructing them to lay down new bone and muscle fibres. In the absence of exercise, they can become lazy.

Forces acting on our body during everyday movements and exercise have a strong influence on the size, shape and strength of our joints, muscles and bones. For example, the racket arm bones of tennis players can be 20% wider and contain 40% more bone mineral than their other arm.

How much exercise is needed?

Aerobic, strength and balance activities are all important and should form part of a regular exercise programme for adults to support strong joints, muscles and bones.

Aerobic exercise includes walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and golf. Each week, it’s important for adults to try to do a minimum of 2.5 hours and as much as 5 hours for additional benefits.

Strength exercise includes weight training, resistance bands and using hand held weights. Adults should aim for two short sessions each week.

Note. It’s always advised to consult your health practitioner prior to starting a new exercise program.
A qualified health practitioner such as an exercise physiologist can tailor a programme to suit your individual needs.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is important to support the health of our musculoskeletal system.

For optimum health, our joints, muscles and bones also need a variety of nutrients. This includes a range of essential vitamins and minerals along with a healthy dose of protein.


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Hornberger et al, 2004, Mechanotransduction and the regulation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle, Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 2004 May;63(2):331-5.

Khan et al, 2009, Mechanotherapy: how physical therapists’ prescription of exercise promotes tissue repair, British Journal of Sports Medicine, Volume 43, Issue 4.