Worried about preventing bone loss as you get older? Well if you have been working out then you are on the right track, according to a recent study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27108341. The researchers found that older women who engage in any form of high-impact exercise, such as weight training, twice a week were able to maintain their bone density even as they got older.
What The Research Found
The researchers conducted their study in Germany from 1998 to 2014, examining 55 middle-aged women with osteopenia. According to WebMD, osteopenia is a “bone density that is lower than normal peak density but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis.”) The women exercised up to four times a week, in sessions that ranged from 30 to 65 minutes long. These workouts were a combination of one-building exercises that included aerobics and resistance training with free weights. The study determined that a minimum of two days a week of the high-impact exercise was necessary to curb bone loss in the women.
While the study participants still experienced some bone loss, they did so at a lower rate than the control group, which did not engage in any regular weight-bearing workout routines. The rate of bone density decreased by 1.5 percent in the spine and 5.7 percent in those women that exercised regularly. In the control group, the bone density loss was 5.8 percent in the spine and 9.7% percent in the hips.
If you want to build and maintain your bone density as you age, the best exercises to incorporate into your workout include both weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. Both require you to work against gravity. Some examples of great weight-bearing exercises to try include using an elliptical machine, a stair-step machine, walking (inside on a treadmill or outside) or aerobics. In terms of muscle-strengthening ideas, consider a routine that incorporates elastic exercise bands, free weights or weight machines. The key is to start with a workout that fits your current fitness level, so you don’t injure yourself or become discouraged. If you aren’t sure, it is never a bad idea to check in with what your doctor recommends.
If you are interested in creating an exercise program to help decrease your potential for bone loss, but are nervous about working out with weights, ask one of our Shapes personal trainers. They are committed to helping you create a personalized plan for you with realistic goals that work with your existing fitness level.