Although it is important for both men and women to train with resistance, women really need to place some extra importance on this part of their training.
Osteoporosis and Osteopenia are conditions of low bone mass which leads to an increased risk of bone fractures, which are extremely common in women; especially after menopause.
You may be wondering why this effects women more than men and there are two main factors.
- Men have larger bones
- Men don’t have a true menopause like women do which decreases testosterone
According to Dr. Wermers’ article, Women’s Wellness: Bone density in Women https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/womens-wellness-bone-density-in-women/
“Fracture rates exceed all other diseases in elderly women in the U.S., with a 2x greater risk than heart attacks, 5x greater than breast cancer, and 8x greater than stroke.” That’s astonishing numbers when considering that adapting a healthier lifestyle can also reduce those numbers as well.
The natural process of bone decline begins around your 30’s and the only way to prevent it is to focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as getting enough calcium and weight bearing exercises. When we age our lifestyle habits seem to lead to less activity and inadequate nutrition which can lead to a bone loss at a rate of 1% per year after the age of 40.
Strength training has shown to provide the mechanical stimuli needed for maintenance and improvement in bone health. There have been numerous studies that show strength training can even build bone. Participating in activities that put stress on the bone can push the bone forming cells to produce stronger more dense bones.
Weight training has extra bone benefits over aerobic training as it targets the bones of the hips, spine, and wrists which are the leading sites of fractures. I should mention it is also important to include some balance work in your training routine to help prevent the falls that lead to these fractures.
It is never too late to start a weight training program, start slow, start with body weight movements and work your way safely to externally loading with weights.
- The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9927006
- Strength Training builds more than muscleshttps://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/strength-training-builds-more-than-muscles