The Solid Foundation: Ballet's Impact on Bone Strength and Osteoporosis Prevention

The Solid Foundation: Ballet's Impact on Bone Strength and Osteoporosis Prevention

In part 2 of our deep dive into the health benefits of ballet we examine the profound impact of ballet on bone strength, how it can help prevent osteoporosis, and the specific mechanisms through which ballet contributes to bone health.

As those of us who dance, at any and every level, know, ballet is not only an art form of grace and beauty but also a physically demanding discipline. The unique combination of weight-bearing movements, jumps, and turns places significant stress on the skeletal system which offers a multitude of benefits for bone health, including the prevention of osteoporosis.

Weight-Bearing Exercise and Bone Health

Ballet involves weight-bearing exercises that require the body to support its weight against gravity. Weight-bearing activities are crucial for maintaining bone health as they stimulate the bones to grow stronger and denser. The repetitive impact and loading forces experienced during ballet training contribute to bone remodelling, where old bone tissue is replaced with new, stronger bone. This process helps increase bone mineral density (BMD) and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Dynamic Movements and Bone Adaptation

    Ballet is characterized by dynamic movements such as jumps, leaps, and turns that subject the bones to varying levels of mechanical stress. These high-impact movements place brief but intense loads on the bones, triggering a response known as Wolff's law. Wolff's law states that bones adapt to the mechanical forces placed upon them by becoming stronger and denser. Through ballet, the bones undergo positive remodelling, resulting in increased bone mass, improved structural integrity, and reduced susceptibility to fractures.

    Even if your jumps are small bounces, your leaps are lilting glissades and your turns are limited to soutenus at the barre, your body is still getting a degree of positive stress.

    Strength and Resistance Training

      Ballet training includes a combination of strength and resistance exercises that target specific muscle groups. The muscles pulling on the bones during these exercises create tension and promote bone development. The isometric contractions required to hold positions, such as pliés and relevés, help stimulate bone growth and increase bone density. As dancers progress in their training, they gradually build muscle strength, further enhancing the protective effect on bones. We all start at the beginning whether we are 6, 60 or beyond, it's never too late to start strengthening our bodies on our the ballet journey. 

      Coordination, Balance, and Fall Prevention

        Ballet demands exceptional coordination, balance, and proprioception, which are crucial elements for preventing falls and reducing the risk of fractures, especially in older adults. The precise movements and postural control required in ballet contribute to better overall body awareness and neuromuscular coordination. By honing these skills, dancers develop a heightened sense of balance and body control, reducing the likelihood of falls and the potential impact on bone health.

        As we age, falls become an increasing threat to living an active and healthy life. The progression of exercises at the barre improve leg strength and balance in a safe environment and help us to build and retain good balancing skills.

        Hormonal Regulation

          Ballet training can have a positive effect on hormonal regulation, particularly in women. Weight-bearing exercise, such as ballet, helps maintain hormonal balance, including oestrogen levels. Oestrogen plays a vital role in bone health, as it helps regulate the turnover of bone tissue. Engaging in ballet throughout different life stages, including during menopause when oestrogen levels decrease, can help mitigate the accelerated bone loss associated with hormonal changes.

          Lifestyle Factors

            Ballet encompasses not only physical training but also a holistic approach to health and well-being. Dancers often prioritize proper nutrition, including adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone health. Additionally, maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and getting sufficient rest and recovery all contribute to optimizing bone strength and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.


            Overall, the positive impacts of ballet on bone strength and osteoporosis prevention is undeniable. The combination of weight-bearing exercises, dynamic movements, strength training, coordination, and hormonal regulation creates a solid foundation for lifelong bone health. We don't have to be professional dancers to reap the benefits of ballet; we can can all improve bone mineral density, enhance bone structure, and reduce the risk of fractures. As if we needed more reasons to dance!

            Happy Dancing xoxo

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