There is an increasing emphasis on the advantages of strength training for your overall health. Many people only consider the role of strength training for building and maintaining lean muscle tissue. However, the benefits of strength training are NOT limited to muscle building; but also assists in fat loss, improving sleep, lifting your mood, increasing strength, strengthening your bones, whilst also increasing your ability to undertake day-to-day activities.
For older adults and the elderly, strength training has been shown to decrease the risk of falls and injury; whilst increasing independence in daily life.
Among the many benefits of strength training; the positive impact strength training has on your bone health must be considered as one of the most important for preventive health.
How does strength training benefit bone health?
- Strength training improves bone density
One of the leading benefits of strength training is that it improves bone density (also known as bone mineral density or BMD) and, hence, is a boon for bone health. Doing weight lifting exercises on a regular basis is the best means for building stronger bones and improving bone mineral density. Exercises including lunges, deadlifts, push-ups, squats and other whole-body strength training exercises are known to improve bone density very fast in people of all ages. This, in turn, reduces the risk of falls and fractures. No wonder, strength training is being increasingly recommended as a way of retaining and improving bone mineral density.
- Strength training reduces the risk of osteoporosis
The role of resistance training in prevention of osteoporosis is yet another factor that stresses the need of promoting its relevance for better bone health. Osteoporosis is an increasing public health problem which has a huge financial and emotional cost to the community. Osteoporosis is indicated by low bone mass and higher vulnerability to fractures, especially of the spine, hip and wrist. Strength training, especially, high intensity strength training, offers the added advantage of influencing mechanical stimulus for maintenance and betterment of bone health through improved muscle mass, strength and balance (different risk factors for osteoporosis).
- Improves Joint Flexibility
Numerous studies suggest strength training plays an important role in increasing the flexibility of bones and joints; especially bones in the arms, hips and spine. Resistance training exercises, especially exercises involving balance and power, improve strength and stability. It helps in improving physical function in individuals suffering with pain in the lower back.
- Improves Balance
Strength training exercises which incorporate balance teach your nervous system better balance and control of your body; and thus, improving your balance and reducing your risk of falls. This learning which occurs deep within your nervous system occurs at all age groups; and relies on you to undertake the right type of strength training exercises.
Machine based strength training which are undertaken in a fixed plane of movement will load the muscles and bone; but will have a negative impact on your overall function, control and balance. These machine-based strength programs don’t adequately prepare the body for movement in the outside world; as we live and move in a three-dimensional world.
Strength training involving free weights and cables require you to teach your neural system how to move appropriately; and therefore, assist with improving balance. Improved balance increases confidence and reduces the risk of falls and injuries which lead to vertebral fractures and hospitalization.
For more information on the importance of strength training equipment types watch for your health watch; How to select strength training equipment
- Slows bone loss
Resistance training is a bone-stimulating activity and plays a vital role in slowing the process of bone loss. Moreover, several studies also indicate that it helps in building bones as well. This is extremely beneficial in offsetting age-related bone mass decrease. Bone-forming cells stir into action with activities that place stress on our bones. Weight bearing and strength training exercises put healthy mechanical stress on your bones. This mechanical stress leads to solid, stronger and healthier bones.
Whether you are young or elderly, you must incorporate strength training into your weekly routine to increase bone mineral density, muscle strength and lean mass. The benefits of strength training for bone health are impeccable and can have positive consequences for your overall health. However, to ensure you gain the positive benefits of strength training for bone health and osteoporosis; ensure you undertake your strength training using free weights and cable equipment. These exercises require you to move in three-dimensions which teaches your nervous system (brain) to function optimally in the real world; preventing any likelihood of fall related injuries. Seeking the supervision of an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to design a strength training program for your individual requirements is important.