How Strength Training Can Help Prevent or Reverse Osteoporosis
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones in our bodies become weak and brittle. Bones are a very dense tissue made up mostly of collagen and calcium. When someone is diagnosed with osteoporosis, this means that the bones are losing so much density and mass that there are holes and spaces in the actual bone tissue.
To test for Osteoporosis you may be given a central DXA test, which tests for bone mineral density at the hip and spine. Your results are then compared to the ideal or peak mineral bone density. This will determine if you have normal bone density, low bone density, or osteoporosis. You can read more about the DXA bone density test here.
Who is at Risk for Osteoporosis?
After the age of 30, we all begin to lose bone density. Although we all do lose some bone density every year, women are much more prone to osteoporosis than men are. This is because women naturally have thinner bones than men do. Decreases in hormones is also a big factor in bone density loss. Estrogen is a hormone that protects women’s bones from losing density and mass, among many other things. As women grow older and reach menopause, their estrogen levels drop drastically, which causes the loss of bone density.
A few staggering statistics really caught my eye about osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:
- Of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about eight million or 80% are women.
- Approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
- A woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.
Ways to Prevent and Reverse Osteoporosis
Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to help prevent the loss of bone density and also increase it as well. The first thing you can do is to start eating a well balanced diet full of calcium and vitamin D. 99% of the calcium in our body is in our bones and teeth. We lose calcium every single day, but the body can’t produce it on its own. Calcium rich foods or calcium supplements are vital for increasing bone density, especially as we age. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is essential for helping the body absorb that calcium.
Another important factor in preventing osteoporosis is participating in a resistance training regimen, also known as strength training. By providing a stimulus to the body with weight training, bones are built stronger and denser. More muscle mass, stronger bones, and well-balanced bodies are essential for avoiding osteoporosis and staying healthy.
We’ve talked before about how resistance training can actually help reverse the effects of osteoporosis. At Vertex Fitness, we practice safe, effective, and efficient resistance training that can help you be proactive with your bone and joint health.
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