As I walked in to teach my Monday morning step class, the conversation was not on step, but on Osteoporosis. It seems that someone had written into a q&a column of a local newspaper about osteoporosis stirring questions and comments from my class members. Osteoporosis is a major health concern in this country. More than 25 million people are affected and 80% are women. The U.S. National Women's Health Resource Center reports that 59% of women over the age of 40 have not talked to their physicians about bone density and/or had a bone mineral density scan. Beginning in 1995, a research team at the University of Arizona studied the effects of exercise on bone density in two groups of postmenopausal women: those on hormone therapy and those who were not. After 12 months, the combination of calcium supplements and exercise significantly improved BMD at skeletal sites at risk for fractures in postmenopausal women. Those taking HRT showed greater improvement. The four year study showed that those taking 800mg of calcium daily had greater improvements than those who did not. Attending more exercise sessions and lifting weights increased their BMD 1 to 2%.
Researchers concluded that women who maintained bone density with greater results were those that lifted weights two or more times per week. Six core exercises of this program focused on major muscle groups on or near BMD measurement sites. The Core exercises were seated leg press, seated row, back extension, lat pull down, one-arm military press, and squats. Over the four years calcium intake, HRT, and exercise together played a role. Keep in mind that this program was designed as osteoporosis prevention, not as a program for women with osteoporosis. Since this program is a high load low repetition program, it is recommended to work with a trainer. Be aware about choices for osteoporosis prevention and if you have not had a bone density scan, make an appointment.
Resource: ACSM's Certified News October-December 2010/NOF.ORG