Watching the funny enhanced video clip of the Wizard of Oz below reminded me of something very serious—the importance of good bone health. While I don't advocate flinging yourself around like the good ole Scarecrow (man he's flexible), I do want to share that running and jumping are two great ways to improve and even increase bone density.
The July/August issue of Sports Health features an article that says weight bearing exercises can improve bone health and prevent diseases and injury later in life such as osteoporosis and fractures. While this isn't earth-shattering news (we've known this for a while), the article goes further to say that activities that put a larger strain on the body (weightlifting), have a higher strain rate (jumping rope), and have a higher strain frequency (running) also help to increase bone density. It seems that including short periods of rest in between the continuous movement also seems to help improve bone density levels. As little as 20 mins of weight-bearing activity a day can help improve bone density.
Your bone density levels usually peak around 30 years of age. So if you're still a young-en, get out there and run, jump, lift weights and get your bone density levels as high as possible. It will be like banking good health for your later years in life. If you're over 30, don't think you're off the hook! You need to get out there and run, jump, and lift weights to maintain your bone density levels.
If you're new to exercise, be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. Also, if you've been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, do not start any resistance training until you've consulted your doctor. You'll probably be able to add some resistance training and/or weight-bearing exercise with modifications, but check with your physician first.