What is a New Weapon Against Osteoporosis?

I wrote about the dangers of osteoporosis for both men and women previously citing the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Generally speaking:
* 1.5 million osteoporotic fractures occur every year
* 10 million Americans suffer from it
* 34 million Americans have low bone mass (osteopenia)
* 40% of white women over 50 will have a hip, spine or wrist fracture in their lifetime
* By 2020 50 over age 50 will have, or be at high risk of developing osteoporosis

You can get all the details at the first link above.


One of the strongest weapons against osteoporosis is weight-bearing exercise. One of the reasons so many people suffer from the disease, especially seniors, is that they don’t do much weight-bearing exercise. While walking qualifies as some of the lightest weight-bearing exercise, it often isn’t a person’s first choice.

That’s why this morning’s Wall Street Journal article on walking while wearing a weighted vest is so valuable.

Seems that the weighted vest increases the load on your bones and provides extra benefits for someone who is ‘only’ walking.

The article cites Felicia Cosman, senior clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, who says it’s logical to think the vests would be beneficial because “bone responds to the magnitude of the force put on it.”

An interesting aspect of this concept is that the vests aren’t necessary for persons who are significantly overweight because their excess pounds “already give their bones a workout….” Make that one good thing about being overweight.

One of the Journal’s readers wrote a useful comment recommending going hiking in a beautiful natural setting with a backpack. Thus, you would be using the weighted pack and get the benefits of going hiking, too.

The vests mentioned in the Journal article ranged in price from $85 to $149 with variable weights up to 20 and 40 pounds.

Finally, “Since the weighted vest is snug to the body, it is more likely to put beneficial stress on the spine and hips than carrying dumbbells, says physical therapist Carol Hamilton Zehnacker, owner of Physical Therapy Consults of Frederick, Md. Wearing the vests while jogging, jumping on a trampoline or climbing stairs is likely to provide more benefit, doctors and physical therapists say.”

I like this tweaking of the wonderful exercise that is walking to increase its benefits.

To find out more about the benefits of walking check out the following posts:

Walking and glaucoma

Benefits of walking and bike riding

National Start Walking Day

Mall walking

How healthy is walking?



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Filed under osteoporosis, walking, weight-bearing exercise

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