This article (from Advisory.com—geared towards Healthcare professionals) summarizes the findings of new study from the Cleveland Clinic published in JAMA. What we learn from the study is that a lack of cardio respiratory fitness (aka—not exercising) is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes, and heart disease!
But you knew that already, right? Just. Keep. Moving.
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!
This month I wanted to supply you with answers to questions I’m often asked on the topic of stretching. The American College of Sports Medicine holds the following positions on this often lengthy topic. View the complete article from the link below.
How long should a stretch be held?
Holding a stretch for 10-30 seconds at the point of tightness or slight discomfort enhances joint range of motion, with little apparent benefit resulting from longer durations. Older persons may realize greater improvements in range of motion with longer durations (30-60 seconds) of stretching. A 20%-75% maximum contraction held for 3-6 seconds followed by 10- to 30-seconds assisted stretch is recommended for PNF techniques (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation).
How many repetitions of stretching exercises are needed?
Repeating each flexibility exercise two to four times is effective, with enhancement of joint range of motion occurring during 3-12 weeks. The goal is to attain 60 seconds of total stretching time per flexibility exercise by adjusting duration and repetitions according to individual needs. For example, 60 seconds of stretch time can be met by two 30-seconds stretches or four 15-seconds stretches.
How often should stretching exercise be performed?
Performing flexibility exercises ≥2-3 days week is effective, but greater gains in joint range of motion are accrued with daily flexibility exercise.
I heard such fascinating information from Wendy Suzuki in this 13 minute TED Talk that I felt obligated to share!