Did you know? Women have until their mid-20s to reach peak bone mineral density. After the mid-20’s, bone loss begins.
The key factors for building healthy bones (or maintaining and/or slowing loss) are:
1. Nutrition (sufficient calcium and Vitamin D)
2. Sufficient calories (not being underweight)
3. Exercise (specifically weight training and jumping)
4. Hormone therapy (estradiol and testosterone)
Regarding point 3: The type of exercise makes a difference.
Studies have found that athletes who do sports with large amounts of jumping and athletes who weight lift tend to have the highest bone mineral density (BMD).
Lower impact sports have lower levels of BMD: “Surprisingly, endurance athletes, especially those who’s sport generates no impact forces (i.e. cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing and others) often have lower BMD than sedentary individuals with running being slightly higher.” p. 49, The Women’s Book, Volume 1, “A Guide to Nutrition, Fat Loss, and Muscle Gain” by Lyle McDonald.
Heavy weight training may actually be superior to jumping due to the fact that full-body resistance training works the entire body, not just the lower half. There is also much less risk of injury.
Consider strength training at least twice a week for your bone health. Even post-menopausal women have shown improvement in bone mineral density from heavy weight training.
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Do you do strength training? Have you noticed a change in bone density? Share your story below!