Improving muscular strength and endurance slows bone density loss (2024)

We don't usually think about all the things our bones do for us. For example, they protect our organs from injury and store essential minerals like calcium and phosphorous, which can be released into the body when we need them the most.

For Vicki, a long-time Fit In customer, her bone health took center stage when she received an osteopenia diagnosis. Osteopenia is a condition in which you lose bone mass, and your bones get weaker due to losing calcium. People who have osteopenia are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.

Bone density decreases at age 35

Throughout our lives, the tissue in our bones dissolves and is replaced. However, around age 35, the tissue tends to dissolve faster than it is replaced. This leads to bone loss. Even very healthy people experience bone density loss – it's estimated a healthy person sees bone density decrease by less than 1% per year. Women are at an increased risk of developing osteopenia and osteoporosis. Additionally, being thin or having a small frame, smoking, having a history of anorexia, heavy drinking, and getting too little calcium put you at an increased risk of developing those conditions.

Vicki's doctor told her her slight frame was a risk factor for osteoporosis. So after the baseline bone density exam showed Vicki had osteopenia, her doctor prescribed calcium and vitamin D supplements and prescription medication.

"My doctor also said it would be really great if I did some weight-bearing exercises," she recalls. "I was not, at that time, doing any exercising. I would walk – commuting to the city every day, so I was walking, going up and down the subway stairs. So I was on my feet a lot, but I was not doing any kind of structured exercise."

Exercise to increase bone density

Weight-bearing exercises are recommended to increase muscle and bone strength, improve balance, and relieve pain. These exercises can include strength training with weights, resistance bands, dancing, Tai chi, and running. Yoga and Pilates are also suitable forms of exercise to strengthen bones; however, some movements in Pilates and yoga can increase fracture risk for people with osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Despite the recommendation to exercise, it took Vicki two years to find a workout routine that worked for her.

“There was nothing in our neighborhood at that time that I felt comfortable going to. But when I saw The Fit In, it was so close to my house and it has such an incredible community,” Vicki says. Soon after joining The Fit In, Vicki went from weekend workouts to a mix of Pilates and Strong classes four-five days a week. Vicki soon learned her workout routine was helping to counter the effects of age on her bones.

“Between the second exam and third, I had maybe started working out at The Fit In for six or seven months. The first bone density test showed a decline in my bone density but the third one showed that I had stabilized and wasn’t going down,” she says.

Buoyed by the impact of her workout routine, Vicki increased her workout frequency and spoke to Ife, the founder of The Fit In, about holding private sessions focused on strengthening her bones.

"We did an assessment session. Even though she'd been seeing me in her classes for almost two years, it was an opportunity to sit down and find out what was motivating this desire for one-on-one work," she says. "I said I wanted to increase my bone density. If osteoporosis isn't treated, when you get older, if you fall, you will have a broken bone, and it really impacts your overall. So I was like, I do not want that."

With a focus on bone density in mind, Ife designed a private training routine. Broken into six-week cycles, the program aims to increase mobility and strengthen muscles through weight-bearing exercises, cardiovascular conditioning, and core strengthening. In each session, Ife tracks the amount of weight and the repetitions Vicki completes for each movement. The goal is to increase the weights lifted and the repetitions from week to week.

Since starting this program, Vicki says she not only feels stronger but has reduced pain in her shoulder and neck. She also says her posture has improved as her core has strengthened. Additionally, her bone density has improved.

“I just got another bone density test and the density of the bone in my spine has increased at a statistically significant rate and my hip bone density has also increased,” she exclaims.

These gains are important to Vicki, who has friends who have experienced broken bones likely due to low bone density. "I have a friend who I grew up with in Australia, and she has a similar build to mine. She's a little younger than I am, but she's already had a bone fracture," Vicki says. "I told her she needs to get a bone density scan and work on it because, at some point, it gets harder and harder to achieve increased bone density as you get older.

She adds: “I’m reallyglad I started doing this now. Before I get into my 60s, when it will be more difficult. If I continue to build on this I could really change the trajectory of my health for the next few decades.”

Improving muscular strength and endurance slows bone density loss (2024)

FAQs

Is improving muscular strength and endurance slows bone density loss? ›

Answer and Explanation:

Muscles exert force (push and pull) on our bones, and this stimulates bone growth. Muscles that are stronger can exert more force, helping to slow bone density loss.

Which of the following exercises are essential for bone growth earlier in life and slowing of bone loss later in life? ›

Choose weight-bearing activities such as brisk walking, jogging, tennis, netball or dance. While non-weight-bearing exercises, such as swimming and cycling, are excellent for other health benefits, they do not promote bone growth. Include some high-impact exercise into your routine, such as jumping and rope skipping.

What is the most accurate to say that body mass? ›

The MOST accurate answer is option B: an individual's height-weight ratio. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure that uses a person's weight and height to gauge whether their weight is too low, normal, overweight, or obese.

Does muscular endurance refer to the maximum amount of force? ›

Muscular strength (dynamic) is defined as the maximum force a muscle or muscle group can generate at a specific velocity. Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated contractions against a load for an extended period of time.

Does improving muscular strength increase bone density? ›

By stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Will developing muscular strength and endurance improve or maintain bone density? ›

Strength-Training Exercise

During strength-training activities, resistance is added to movement in order to make muscles work harder and, over time, become stronger. Although resistance exercises focus on increasing muscle mass, they also put stress on bones and have bone-building capacity.

How much weight should I lift to increase bone density? ›

We measure activity by how many multiples of body weight is loaded on the skeleton. Scientists in the United Kingdom, using accelerometers, did a cross sectional study in teens and determined that the amount of loading required to stimulate the bone building process equals 4.2 times body weight.

What is the fastest way to increase bone density? ›

11 ways to increase bone density naturally
  1. Weightlifting and strength training. ...
  2. Eat more vegetables. ...
  3. Consume calcium throughout the day. ...
  4. Eat foods rich in vitamins D and K. ...
  5. Maintain a moderate weight. ...
  6. Avoid a low calorie diet. ...
  7. Eat more protein. ...
  8. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

What is the best exercise to increase bone density? ›

The best way to keep bones strong is to do both weight-bearing impact and muscle-strengthening exercises. Short bursts of activity are ideal for bones. For example, running then jogging, or jogging then walking. Variety is also good for bones.

Why does my BMI say I'm overweight when I'm not? ›

How muscular you are: A few people have high BMIs but don't have much body fat. Their muscle tissue pushes up their weight. An example: "A football player or a body builder who is very muscular. Their BMI shows up pretty high, and yet their body fat is actually pretty low," Kahan says.

What weight is considered obese? ›

How is BMI interpreted for adults?
BMIWeight Status
Below 18.5Underweight
18.5 – 24.9Healthy Weight
25.0 – 29.9Overweight
30.0 and AboveObesity

Does BMI look at muscle mass? ›

Because BMI utilizes only body weight and height and does not take into account overall body composition, including body fat, muscular individuals may be classified as obese.

At what age do people typically begin to lose muscle mass? ›

But at some point in your 30s, you start to lose muscle mass and function. The cause is age-related sarcopenia or sarcopenia with aging. Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you'll still have some muscle loss.

At what stage of your life are you most flexible? ›

Flexibility comes naturally when you're a child. In your adult years, you must start taking responsibility to maintain and improve it. Your cartilage should have fully grown out and become replaced by bone by the time you're 25.

What factor is most responsible for the decline in muscular strength as people age? ›

The decrease in physical activity with aging process is the key factor in development of strength and muscle mass loss17, 22, 30, 41. Physical inactivity leads to muscle atrophy30.

Does strength training decrease bone density? ›

Strength training includes the use of free weights, resistance bands or your own body weight to strengthen muscles, tendons and bones. Strength training is especially helpful to build back muscles that are important for posture. It also can help support bone density.

Does strength training slow bone loss? ›

The good news is that research shows that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related declines in bone mass. Activities that put stress on bones can nudge bone-forming cells into action.

Does strength training reduce osteoporosis? ›

Studies show that strength training over a period of time can help prevent bone loss -- and may even help build new bone.

Does exercise decrease bone density? ›

Multi-component exercise programmes of strength, aerobic, high impact and/or weight-bearing training, as well as whole-body vibration (WBV) alone or in combination with exercise, may help to increase or at least prevent decline in bone mass with ageing, especially in postmenopausal women.

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