Practice Strength Training for Bones as well as Muscles – Harvard

Men don’t suffer from osteoporosis as often as women, but they are indeed vulnerable. The International Osteoporosis Foundation says that the lifetime risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture in men over the age of 50 is 30%, similar to the lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer.

osteoporosis2

Harvard HealthBeat said, “Most of us know that strength training (with free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands) can help build and maintain muscle mass and strength. What many of us don’t know is that strong muscles lead to strong bones. And strong bones can help minimize the risk of fracture due to osteoporosis.

A combination of age-related changes, inactivity, and poor nutrition conspire to steal bone mass at the rate of 1% per year after age 40. As bones grow more fragile and susceptible to fracture, they are more likely to break after even a minor fall or a far less obvious stress, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.

“Osteoporosis should be a concern for all of us. Eight million women and two million men in the United States have osteoporosis. It is now responsible for more than two million fractures year, and experts expect that number will rise. Hip fractures are usually the most serious. Six out of 10 people who break a hip never fully regain their former level of independence. Even walking across a room without help may be impossible.

“Numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related decline in bone mass. Activities that put stress on bones stimulate extra deposits of calcium and nudge bone-forming cells into action. The tugging and pushing on bone that occur during strength training (and weight-bearing aerobic exercise like walking or running) provide the stress. The result is stronger, denser bones.

“And strength training has bone benefits beyond those offered by aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets bones of the hips, spine, and wrists, which, along with the ribs, are the sites most likely to fracture. What’s more, resistance workouts — particularly those that include moves emphasizing power and balance — enhance strength and stability. That can boost confidence, encourage you to stay active, and reduce fractures by cutting down on falls.

“For more information on the benefits of strength training, you can order Strength and Power Training by Harvard Medical School.

I think this item by Harvard is particularly valuable because Osteoporosis is diabolical. The International Osteoporosis Foundation says, “Because bone loss is gradual and painless, there are usually no symptoms to indicate a person is developing osteoporosis. This is why osteoporosis is often referred to as the silent disease. Often the first symptom of osteoporosis is a fracture. Most commonly, osteoporotic fractures occur at the spine, the wrist or the hip, although osteoporotic fractures can occur in other bones as well.

“While most limb fractures (such as at the wrist or hip) are obvious, spinal fractures can be more difficult to diagnose. This is because they might be painless, or if there is pain, a person may not know it is caused by a fracture due to the many different causes of back pain.  More obvious signs of spinal fractures are:

• Loss of height
• Development of a curved upper back (sometimes called a Dowager’s Hump)

“Since there are usually no outward signs of osteoporosis developing, doctors will often recommend diagnostic testing depending on your age and if you have other risk factors for the disease.”

You can take a quick one minute quiz
to assess your risk factors.

Tony

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Filed under Exercise, osteoporosis, weight-bearing exercise, weight-training

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