Osteoporosis and Weight training…a Winning Combination?

Written by: Elsie Velazquez cert. personal trainer at Prescription Fitness (Cleveland, Ohio)

What is Osteoporosis:

Osteoporosis by definition is the thinning of the bones, with reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calcium and bone protein. Osteoporosis predisposes a person to fractures.  Fractures are often slow healing and/or heal poorly. Osteoporosis is most common in older adults, postmenopausal women, and in patients who take steroids or steroidal drugs.   Osteoporosis, when not monitored, can lead to changes in posture, physical abnormality, and decreased mobility.

Testing/Diagnosis:

Determining risk factors by discussing your own personal medical history and your family medical history with your doctor is the first step.   A bone density scan, a CT scan of the spine, and an MRI of the spine are all tests used to diagnose osteoporosis.

A few symptoms commonly found in people with osteoporosis are:

  • Severe back pain
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture
  • Bone fractures from minor injury

Treatment:

Treatment of osteoporosis includes exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise that builds bone density.  Other ways to treat osteoporosis is maintaining a diet contains with adequate calcium and other minerals to promote new bone growth.  There are also medications that help improve bone density.  Hormone therapy is commonly used for postmenopausal women

Benefits of Weight Training:

Even if you are not at high risk for developing osteoporosis, and regardless of your age, strengthening your bones and maintaining bone density should be top on your list of priorities!  One of the reasons strength weight training is considered to be so beneficial in regards to osteoporosis is because when weights are used, muscles and tendons are pulled on, creating small tears in the muscle and placing pressure on the tendons and bone.  When these tears heal, stronger muscle is achieved.  The pressure placed on your tendons and bones when weight training helps to increase the thickness and strength of your bones.  The thickening and strengthening of your bone, fights the effects of osteoporosis.

If you have questions or need help putting together a weight training routine, contact Prescription Fitness at info@prescription-fitness.com – a trainer will be happy to help!