Benefits of Weight Training on Bone Health
Our bones might not always be something we think about, but did you know that after the age of 40 we lose muscle mass and bone density consistently every year?
Did you know that resistance training, in addition to improving muscle strength, plays an important role in slowing down bone loss and can even help rebuild bone density in older adults?
With osteoporosis and osteopenia rates rising, increasing our understanding on how to improve bone health is so important. Strength training improves bone growth in older adults because the mechanical loading of weight training increases osteoblast (bone growth cells) activity strengthening the bones.
Walking and swimming despite being great exercise methods do not improve bone density. Dancing, running, and jumping will improve bone density but these methods are not always safe for the aging population. Especially those that already surfer from osteoporosis because it puts them at a greater risk of falling and/or causing a joint injury.
Weight training also known as resistance training, is a form of exercise that utilizes dumbbells, resistance bands, weight lifting machines, or body weight to strengthen the muscles and burn calories. As with any form of exercise, weight training must be done properly in order to receive the benefits. Some of the best exercises for improving bone health for aging adults are those that specifically strengthen the legs, hips and wrists, because these are the most often fractured bones in a fall.
Some exercises recommended for bone density include: Marching with a safe stomping of the foot, bicep curls, standing on one foot, squats, and hamstring curls. All of these exercises improve one or more of the most commonly fractured areas, many of them also improve balance and stability, reducing the risk of falling. Ideally all exercises will be performed with a specialist present to assure proper form and safety. Weight training should be done at least twice a week for improved effects.
Healthy bones are something that we should make a greater focus. Resistance training can be the key to improved bone and muscle strength as we age.
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