Exercise is known to be beneficial to bone health but there is reluctance to use high intensity programs in older women with low bone mass because of the risk of fracture or other injury. A new Journal of Bone and Mineral Research study found that only 30 minutes twice a week of high intensity resistance and impact training improved functional performance and bone density, structure, and strength in postmenopausal women with low bone mass, without adverse effects.
The results indicate that closely supervised exercise training interventions of this type are effective and safe for bone.
“We were delighted to find that even women with very low bone mass could tolerate the high loading required to increased bone mineral density as long as it was introduced gradually with close attention to technique,” said Dr. Belinda Beck, senior author of the study. “The simultaneous improvement in functional performance suggests our exercise program provides dual protection from osteoporotic fracture by also preventing falls.”
Of course, we at Sensible Fitness have known this for decades and encourage the proper intensity and exercise form. You have probably heard us say “no challenge, no change”, and this certainly goes for increasing bone density. When a tissue or bone has a challenging stress put on it, it encourages the structure to become stronger to handle this stress. This is why we encourage the last few reps of your exercises to be very challenging. Let’s say your goal is 15 reps, but you could probably get to 20 if gave it 100%….well then, you need to increase the weight being lifted.
When a new person starts with us who has been exercising on their own, but not getting results, we start their workouts on the high side of moderate intensity. This is simply because we do not know their abilities and want to be safe. But 99.9 times out of 100, even at moderately-high intensity, this client will say “I never push myself this hard”. One of the biggest mistakes/oversights a person can make with exercise is not using proper intensity to get results. This reinforces the importance of a trainer, because you will always work harder when someone is keeping an eye on you. High intensity exercise, with proper form, is not dangerous and will not “bulk you up”. Simply put, high intensity exercise gives you results.
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