Strength Training for Bone Health

Bones, like muscles, get stronger with exercise.  Muscles improve in strength and size when you make them work to lift heavy weights.  Bones improve in strength and size similarly, when you make them work to move a heavy weight.  So your strength training is not only great for your muscles, but your bones too.

By building strong bones, the chances of developing osteoporosis decrease.  Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by bone loss, fragility and fractures.  Many people think of osteoporosis as “old woman’s disease” and this is just not the case.  Osteoporosis can occur in either gender and at any age.  That’s why it’s important for everyone at any age to do strength training to strengthen bones.

If you have already been diagnosed with osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis) or osteoporosis, or have displayed symptoms of either, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Strength training includes using weights, weighted machines, bands or your own body weight to build muscle strength and also build bone strength.  When a muscle is worked during strength training exercises, it pulls on the bone it is attached to.  When the muscle pulls on the bone, it creates a stress in the bone which triggers bone tissue formation.  This causes the bone to become thicker and stronger.

The effects of strength training are site-specific, so you must strength train all your major muscle groups in order to gain strength in most of your bones.  Strength training should be performed 2-3 times a week, and you should never train the same muscle group on consecutive days.  This lets the muscles and bones rest and become stronger.

By keeping up with a strength training routine, you are not only becoming stronger and toning your muscles, you are helping decrease your chances of developing osteoporosis!  The next time you want to skip out on the weight room, remember it’s great for your bones!



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