Weightlifting in Your Golden Years

Osteoporosis is a major disease affecting the bone that leads to an increased risk of fracture. The main marker in identifying the disease is bone mineral density (BMD). Osteoporosis is responsible for compromising BMD and decreased overall bone strength. The disease usually appears later in life 35 years or later due to the loose of bone forming cell production. Though the disease affects both men and women the largest portion of the population diagnosed with the disease are postmenopausal women.

The risks factors that have been associated with the disease range from gender, age, family history, lack of estrogen as a result of menopause, and low testosterone in men. The fracture of major load bearing bones including the hip and femur can lead to decreased mobility. Complications from this can lead to the risk of heart attacks, embolisms, and pneumonia which can progress to death.

So how can you keep all negative effects of osteo at bay and live the life you want to live? It’s simple… weightlifting. The act of stressing the load bearing bones of the body i.e. the femur (main bone in your leg) by lifting a load helps rebuild and inhibit bone density loses. It is vital in your golden years to stay active and exercise. Don’t shy away from intense weightlifting programs.   Exercise
intensity and frequency is best suited at 75% of one rep max for 2 sets, at 8-12 reps, 2-3 days a week (J. Larry Durstine). Using proper form on exercises including the squat, bench press, and deadlift will be vital in maintaining BMD. It is also important to maintain mobility/flexibility in the hips, knees, and chest muscles. Exercise prescription in this population can make a dramatic difference in inhibiting the progression of the disease and actually improving BMD with load bearing movements.

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Osteoporosis is not a life threatening disease but complications from falling and the ease of fracture can lead to other conditions with a high mortality rate. Importance of physical activity in years prior to 35 yrs. of age is vital in creating a high peak BMD. This is to insure than in years past 35 the deterioration of bone mass will have a greater storage to draw from and should carry the individual throughout their lifespan. So weightlifting truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Works Cited

J. Larry Durstine, Geoffrey E. Moore, et. al Acsm’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities Ed. Roberts, Scott O. Vol. Third: Human Kinetics 2009. Print.

Author: Brad Longazel, MS, CSCS, USAW
Along with personal training, Brad has worked in physical therapy clinics as well as strength and conditioning facilities. He holds certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is recognized as an Olympic weight-lifting coach by the U.S. Weightlifting Association. Brad earned a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Louisville.

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