by Leigh Ann Thomas, Certified Personal Trainer

It’s no secret that strength and resistance training provide life-long benefits, even as we age. In addition to weight management, muscle growth, improved mood and energy, strength training can also help increase your bone density. Your bones make up your skeletal frame, which provide structural support for your muscles and protection for your vital organs. Just like a house, a strong, solid framework is necessary to withstand all kinds of stress and damage. This reassures the homeowner of its longevity and decreases the likelihood that it will crumble and fall, destroying all that’s inside. We should look at our bodies the same way we look at our house. Your body is your home, forever. There’s a lifetime of maintenance involved, repair that needs to be done and preventative measures you can take in order to avoid the inevitable depreciation of your body.

How do you know if you are you at risk?

Estrogen and testosterone play a significant role in building and maintaining bone and muscle mass. As we age, our hormone levels begin to decrease in both women and men, leading to a loss of mass and functional integrity in bone and muscle tissues. This eventually leads to osteopenia and osteoporosis for a large portion of the population, especially thin, post-menopausal women.

The most accurate way to measure for bone loss is to have a bone mineral density test. At Hotze Health & Wellness Center, we use a Hologic DEXA scan for diagnosing bone density. It is the preferred method of testing. DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) scan is the most acceptable modality worldwide for the diagnosis and quantification of osteoporosis. DEXA scan technology uses a very low dose of X-ray to measure the bone density at your hip and spine. It’s a simple and quick test that literally takes just minutes! It is ideal for all women and men 40 years and over to have a baseline study. Your results will determine whether you are a candidate for osteopenia, which is mildly reduced bone density or osteoporosis, which is severely reduced bone density.  Early diagnosis and treatment may significantly reduce the risk of possible fracture.

How can exercise improve bone density?

Have you ever heard the saying, “it’s never too late to start?” Well when it comes to exercise, this adage couldn’t be more true. It’s never too late to begin a strength training program. Strength and resistance training can drastically improve the bone strength in individuals as they age. Weight bearing exercises, (think: weighted squats, chest press, bicep curls) signal an osteogenic effect, which create new bone in response to growth factors and mechanical stress on our skeletal system. The more weight you are able to lift, directly affects your bone mineral density. Aerobic exercises, such as walking are great for cardiovascular health, however this activity isn’t going to strengthen your bones as much as lifting weights will.

If you are looking for preventative measures to improve your overall health, independence and quality of life, then I suggest you incorporate a clean diet, quality vitamins and an exercise program to your daily routine. Vitamin K2, vitamin D3 and calcium citrate help support optimal bone health. If you’re interested in learning what your bone density score is, please contact Hotze Health & Wellness Center today. Our providers are happy to help adjust your program to make sure you live your best quality life for years to come.