Impact Exercise and Bone Density

We are often told that weight bearing activities help prevent osteoporosis or bone loss. But, I know a few women who perform weight bearing activities regularly and have osteopenia or osteoporosis! So, it appears for some, it can’t be prevented.  Your bone mass density is subject to factors like genetics, lifestyle, hormones and nutrition. Even if it doesn’t prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis, know that it’s beneficial!

Interestingly, many studies that showed an increase in bone mass density (BMD) from weight bearing activity only applied to adolescents and pre-menopausal women. Only a few, like this study, showed it was beneficial for post-menopausal women.  Also, your bone density improvements can be limited to areas of the skeletal system which show a greater bio-mechanical stress. Osteopenia/osteoporosis doesn’t appear to be a big concern for men, but they too should recognize the benefits of impact exercise and discuss bone mass density tests with their physicians.

Interestingly, impact activity (think “jumping” activities like running and tennis) proved to be better at stimulating an increase in bone mass density, though weight training (resistance training) can be effective if the weight is challenging enough to provide a stimulus! Sadly, walking, which is considered a weight bearing activity, may not be enough of a stimulus to increase your overall bone mass density, but it is still beneficial. Impact activity, like jumping, may not be an option for your body. Studies agree there is a higher risk of injury involved with the over 60 population, that’s why it’s not typically recommended. Consider weight training if this is the case. You may not be able to reverse osteopenia or osteoporosis, but you can certainly slow down the process or maintain what you have!

 

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