Does strength training improve bone density? Yes absolutely it does! That’s your simple answer but I’ll of course go into more detail…..
Strength training can involve body weight training or using resistance bands or dumbbells to add force and increase lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass is especially important as we get older (over the age of 35!) because of all the positive impacts on improved metabolism as well as strengthening the body and improving balance. As you engage in strength training, your muscles become stronger and better able to support your skeletal system. Stronger muscles can provide more support to your bones, reducing the risk of fractures and maintaining bone health.
Another brilliant result of increasing lean muscle mass is mechanical loading. This is when muscles contract and exert force – they create a mechanical load on the bones. This mechanical load stimulates bone cells called osteoblasts, which are responsible for bone formation. As a result, the bones adapt by becoming stronger and denser to withstand the increased stress imposed by the muscles. How incredible is that?? Squats and lunges are a brilliant way of applying stress to the bones, prompting them to adapt and become stronger – anyone who is on my app knows how much I love a lunge and a squat!
Another great impact of promoting muscle growth is increasing bone mineral density. Bone mineral density refers to the amount of minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, present in a certain volume of bone tissue. When bones experience regular and progressive mechanical loading, they respond by increasing their mineral content, making them stronger and less prone to fractures.
Muscles and bones have a dynamic relationship, often referred to as the “muscle-bone unit.” When muscles contract and pull on the bones, they create tension, which signals the bones to adapt and become stronger. Additionally, stronger muscles provide better support and stability to the skeletal system, reducing the risk of falls and injuries that could negatively impact bone health.
Strength training can also influence hormonal factors that contribute to bone health. For instance, resistance exercise can increase levels of growth hormone and testosterone, which play important roles in bone remodelling and the maintenance of bone density.
Engaging in a well-rounded strength training program that targets various muscle groups, incorporates progressive overload (gradually increasing the intensity), and emphasizes proper form and technique can promote muscle growth and, consequently, improve bone strength.
It’s worth noting that individual factors such as age, genetics, nutrition, and overall health can also influence bone density. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a certified strength and conditioning specialist who can provide guidance on proper technique and progression.
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