Podcast 15

What Kind of Weight Bearing Exercise is Best for Osteoporosis?

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SHOW NOTES

Learn why strength training is the foundation to rebuilding bone strength and bone density and why osteoporosis isn’t a permanent sentence. Amy and Brian break down the research around bone density and strength training, what exercises you should do to strengthen the most vulnerable parts of your body, and what exercises you should avoid completely. 

  • Many people are recommended to engage in weight bearing exercise to help deal with the effects of osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis and osteopenia affect millions of people of which 80% are women. Research indicates that as many as 1 in 4 women over the age of 65 have low mineral content in their spine or femur.
  • Just moving around isn’t going to cut it in terms of reversing osteoporosis. People can be very active and still suffer from osteoporosis.
  • You need to exercise in more meaningful ways to deal with osteoporosis and this means proper strength training.
  • Strength training improves every system of the body for the better, and this includes the skeletal system. The goal of this kind of strength training isn’t to increase bone mineral density; the aim is to prevent future fractures.
  • When you look at it that way, strength is the lead domino in that it improves strength, balance, and bone density.
  • Sarcopenia also weakens the bones as well as the muscles as we age, so aiming for strength first will also address osteoporosis.
  • Strength also acts as a shock absorber in the case where you experience a high impact force.
  • There are two schools of thought on how strength training affects bone density. The first says that the results are sight specific and load dependent. The second says that it’s due to hormonal factors.
  • Other research shows that your bones will not get stronger without sufficient loads. We need the bones attached to the muscles to be loaded in order for our bodies to send signals to the bones to get stronger.
  • We need to perform exercise that directly loads the bones we want to strengthen, as well as perform exercise that creates the metabolic stimulus that elicits a full spectrum release of miocines.
  • Building stronger bones takes time – up to multiple years to really turn around bone loss – which is often more time than it takes to see other health and fitness results. This is a path we have to travel in order to apply the level of muscle loading we need to grow stronger bones.
  • Bone strength is a marathon, not a sprint. The very first step to improving bone strength is to begin a safe, effective strength training program.
  • There are a few exercises that should be prioritized to strengthen bones, typically movements that address the hips, legs, and lower back.
  • For anyone with osteoporosis, they should avoid overhead pressing movements and twisting movements.
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