Does Strength Training Increase Bone Density?
Thinking about what it means to be physically strong often leads you to consider the muscles used in squatting, pressing, and lifting. But there are other parts of the body that need strength to contribute to a comfortable, healthy and long life.
Your bones are just one example. They are responsible for keeping your entire body structure stable, protecting vital organs, and anchoring muscles. “Bone density refers to the porosity of the bones,” says fitness trainer Emma Obayuvana of the Strong Women Collective. “Bones are naturally porous, but the more porous they become, the more likely they are to fracture and break.”
Despite what the ads tell you, it will take more than calcium-rich yogurt to keep bones strong, dense, and functioning at their best.
Strength training is a crucial part of it. âStrength training increases bone density and also prevents the natural loss of bone density that occurs with age,â says Emma. “It can reduce the risk of fractures and even osteoporosis, which is very common in women as we get older.”
Worryingly, “we are reaching peak bone density of 30,” adds personal trainer Alice miller and member of the Strong Women Collective. “But you can keep bones strong if you continue to exercise with weight.”
So how does it all work? According to Emma, ââit is “to put force on your body and your skeletal system.”
âWhen you exercise, the muscles pull against the bone, which stimulates bone growth,â says Alice. “It forces our muscles to rebuild and come back stronger, just like muscles do.”
Plyometric and strength training require the most force on muscles and bones, so adding resistance training is crucial. the The NHS currently advises have everyone do strengthening activities at least twice a week for this reason.
However, it’s important to remember that just like building muscle, growing bone density is site specific, which means we need to target all muscle groups for full body benefit. This means performing a mixture of compound movements and isolation throughout your workout.
âIf you train for the purpose of staying healthy in old age, I think the squat is the best movement to practice. This is because it works the largest joint and most muscles in the body. It’s just great compound exercise, âsuggests Alice.
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