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Strength Training Can Help Fight Bone Loss

Posted by on June 27th, 2018

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Photo by Maria Fernanda Gonzalez on Unsplash

According to a recent article in Harvard Health, people tend to lose bone mass at a rate of 1% per year after age 40. This can result in osteoporosis, with even simple activities such as bending over to tie a shoelace becoming a potential risk for a fracture.

The 2008 Physical Health Guidelines for Americans recommends one of the following aerobic for substantial health benefits:

  • 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) each week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (such as brisk walking or gardening)
  • 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) each week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (such as jogging or swimming laps)
  • An equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity

Additionally, they also recommend muscle strengthening exercises using weights or bands two or more times a week. Strength training can help delay bone loss and perhaps even improve bone health.

However, a study done by National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion researchers in 2008 found that only a third of older adults (defined as greater or equal to 65) actually meet these guidelines and less than a sixth (14.1%) met muscle-strengthening guidelines.

While habits are harder to form the older one gets, it’s never too late (or early to start). The National Institute on Aging at NIH designed a physical activity campaign called Go4Life. It’s divided into three phases:

  • Get Ready – becoming motivated and learning about the importance of exercise and diet
  • Get Set – figuring out where to start or restart your exercise program by setting goals and planning
  • Go! – tracking your activities and building it into your daily life (e.g. signing up for weekly coaching tips via text)

Exercises are divided into four types (Endurance, Strength, Balance, and Flexibility) and participants are encouraged to integrate all four into their routine. The website provides instructions on how to complete these activities, downloadable templates for tracking progress, and both educational and motivational materials you can order for free.

Always consult a doctor before starting a new exercise program. Learn more and get started at https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/

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