Blog post written by Michael Malone, CPT
I realize that bone health is not one of the more sexy topics that can be discussed. For one thing, you can’t see your bones (normally) so you really don’t know if you have a problem with them until you break one unexpectedly. It’s not like losing 5 lbs where you see the difference in the mirror or the way your clothes fit almost immediately. There is no “quick fix” when it comes to bone health. It takes literally decades before one can appreciate the importance of protecting your bones today. However, keep this in mind… per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over 10 MILLION Americans over age 50 have osteoporosis and another 34 MILLION have low bone mass and are at risk of developing osteoporosis! Half of all women 50 years or older will experience a fracture caused by osteoporosis in their lifetime. Men are not off the hook either. It is estimated that 1 in 4 men over age 50 will experience an osteoporotic fracture. Do I have your attention now?
Have you ever heard to phrase “Strong is the new sexy”? More than likely, this new attitude within the personal training profession became popular in part because the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published guidelines that recommends regular participation in high-intensity loading activities that involve weight bearing aerobic exercise. Doing aerobics like we did in the 80s still plays a part in some exercise routines (High impact aerobics of yesteryear has been replaced with Plyometrics aka “Jump Training”). However, more emphasis has been placed on weight bearing and resistance exercises. The ACSM recommends weight-bearing exercises 3 or 4 times per week; resistance exercises 2 or 3 days per week for 30 – 60 minutes for optimum bone health.
I know what you’re probably thinking if you’re a woman reading this; “But I don’t want to bulk up!”. Don’t worry, the female hormones in women make it VERY difficult for women to bulk up. Instead, working out with weights would be more apt to give you a sleek and sexy figure. Men of course build muscle faster Fitness programs today regularly incorporate weights and resistance bands with their routines so choices are plentiful these days. Programs that we recommend for both women and men include the 21 Day FIX, Chalene Johnson’s Turbo Jam and Turbo Fire, Les Mills Pump and even Tony Horton’s P90X series (P90X, P90X2 and P90X3). The women in these programs look healthy, sexy and strong!
Together with a healthy diet that includes adequate number of calories to meet energy needs (too few calories is also bad for bone health), resistance training should be part of your weekly routine… starting now!