Women’s Strength Training for Osteoporosis Prevention: It’s more than just about bone density.

Women’s Strength Training for Osteoporosis Prevention: It’s more than just about bone density.

Jody & Deb Cross Country Skiing

Jody & Deb strength train for better balance for skiing

Most fractures occur from a fall.Scientists are mentioning more often now that, yes, strength training can help slow bone loss, but an equally important bonus is the improvement in agility, balance, and strength that all aid in preventing falls and subsequent fractures.

One of my class participants, Diane Porter, loves that fact that she has stopped falling down since starting strength training. She used to fall quite often and now finds that she is quicker on her feet, has better balance, as well as the strength to catch herself if she does trip.

Balance tends to decline as we age, just like muscle strength and bone density. Research has shown that strength training helps build back balance, agility, and strength from challenging muscles’ motor units: nerve cells attached to groups of muscle cells. Every time that you contract a muscle with strength training, the motor unit nerves send a signal to the brain and back to the muscle fibers, strengthening neural pathways to help you stay upright, strong, and agile.

It is also very interesting that women in the over-50 group don’t actually trip more than younger people. All ages can stumble, but the older we are, the more falls we have because of lessened agility, balance, and strength. (Consciously picking your feet up higher can also help! Don't shuffle!!)

It is so important to stay strong and agile because hip fractures can often be prevented, whether or not you have low bone density, if you simply don’t fall down. Staying on your feet can be a life-saving skill! It’s a good idea to do whatever it takes to make strength training and weight-bearing exercise a part your weekly routine to slow down bone loss and be able to stay on your feet.

 

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