In an article by Women’s Health in February, they listed the 12 reasons why you should include lifting weight in your workout. Apart from fat-loss, heart-health and better hormonal levels it builds stronger bones.
Here’s what they found “As you age, bone mass goes to pot, which increases your likelihood of one day suffering a debilitating fracture. The good news: A study found that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin—a marker of bone growth–by 19 percent.”
The vast majority of research supports resistance training as a very effective means to increase bone density. Over the past 10 years, nearly two-dozen cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have shown a direct and positive relationship between the effects of resistance training and bone density.
Another paper concluded that weight bearing exercise before puberty protected against osteoporosis later on by increasing peak bone mineral density. This is a useful bit of information seeing that women’s bone density starts to decrease at a significantly younger age than men.
Researchers at Tufts University found that normally women are only able to slow their bone loss, but thanks to strength training they can, along with people of any age, can actually increase its density, not just slow its loss. Because 9 out of 10 hip fractures result from falls, it seems like common sense to engage in strength training to help decrease the risk.
Simply increasing your calcium intake doesn’t guarantee that the calcium is going to get absorbed by your bones. To properly absorb calcium the body needs other nutrients as well—magnesium, for one, and other vitamins. Exercise, particularly weight training, helps the bone retain its calcium. “Without consideration of these effects,” says the nutritional biochemist Dr. Neil S. Orenstein of Lenox, Massachusetts, “no amount of calcium supplementation will prevent osteoporosis.”
The best bone builders are exercises that put force on the bone, such as weight-bearing activities like running and resistance exercises like strength training. In general, the greater the impact involved in an activity, the more it strengthens the bones. That’s why the bones in the racket arms of tennis players are denser than the bones in their non-dominant arms. When muscles and gravity aren’t pulling on the bone, humans can lose bone mass rapidly. This is dramatically illustrated when people are forced by injury or ill health to undergo complete bed rest and, as a result, lose about 1 percent of their bone mass per week.
It is never too late to benefit from strength training. You know you should be getting 30 minutes of weight-bearing aerobic exercise three times a week. Strength training is a valuable addition because we know it builds bone more directly and efficiently than any other kind of exercise you can do.