Exercise for BONE HEALTH – Can resistance training help older bones?
Bone health is something that we may not think about until something starts to go wrong. Statistics show that poor bone health affects 2 in 3 Australians over 50 years age leading to bone fractures which in turn can cause chronic pain, disability & loss of independence.
Healthy bones are essential to live a fit active lifestyle & particularly as women approach menopause & the years beyond where bone loss begins to increase at a rapid rate.
Osteoporosis Australia recommends the following exercises for different life stages:
- Healthy Adults: variety of weight bearing activities & progressive resistance training for at least 30 min, 3-5 times a week
- Post menopausal women & older adults: Participation in exercise programs including weight bearing activities, progressive resistance training & balance & functional activities at least 3 times a week.
Resistance training requires muscles to contract when lifting weights, placing stress on the muscle & bones. The bones strengthen as they adapt to this extra strain. They also say that leisure walking, swimming & cycling are low impact activities that although have benefits for general health & fitness, they are not specifically beneficial for bone health.
A study being conducted at Griffith University is looking at whether resistance training is a safe & effective strategy for improving bone & muscle strength in post-menopausal women. The research is ongoing but so far the results have been positive with women showing an increase in strength & stability & no one getting injured.
Associate Professor Beck conducting this research says that ‘unfortunately, one in three women will experience a fracture after the age of 60 as a result of a gradual decline in bone health”
It is really important to take some action daily to build & maintain your bones. You are never too young or too old to act to protect your bones. The same kind of exercises are effective for bones at any age, but the difference will be your capacity level. You will start slow at a level you are capable & comfortable doing & increase the intensity as you grow stronger. The level at which you start will also depend on your health. If you have any health conditions you will need to have clearance from your doctor.
1.Griffith University Study- Resistance training improves older bones. Associate Professor Belinda Beck- Menzies Health institute QLD
- Osteoporosis Australia- http://www.osteoporosis.org.au/exercise