Weight Training Versus Weight Bearing Exercise for Osteoporosis

Regular weight bearing exercise should be an important component in the treatment of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects approximately 44 million people and leads to 1.5 million fractures per year, mostly in the hip, spinal, and wrist. The annual cost of treatment is estimated at $ 17 billion and it is rising. Both men and women get osteoporosis. One in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over 50 will suffer a vertebral (spinal) fraction. Osteoporosis, which means "porous bones," is a condition of skeletal fragility resulting in bones that break easily. A combination of genetic, dietary, hormonal, age-related, and lifestyle factors all contribute to this condition.

Regular exercise is an important component in the prevention and management of many conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, as well as osteoporosis. With so much information available it is often difficult to know which type of exercise is best.

Oftentimes the terms "weight bearing" and "weight training" are incorrectly used interchangeably. Both are important for those with osteoporosis for different reasons but they are very different types of exercise. In regards to osteoporosis, exercise makes bones and muscles stronger and helps prevent bone loss. It also helps you stay active and mobile. Bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Just as a muscle gets stronger and bigger the more you use it, a bone becomes stronger and denser when you place demands on it. When you are active your bones do not receive any messages that they need to be strong. Thus, a lack of exercise particularly as you get older, may contribute to lower bone mass or density.
Weight bearing exercise:

Weight-bearing exercises, done at least three to four times a week, for 15-30 min. are best for managing osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises are activities that make your muscles and bones bear your weight and work against gravity. This is any exercise in which your arms, feet, and / or legs are bearing your weight. Walking, hiking, stair climbing, or dancing are all weight-bearing exercises that help build strong bones in the legs. Sports such as tennis, and pushups performed either on the floor or against the wall are weight bearing exercises that help to build strong bones in the wrists and arms. Activities such as swimming, water aerobics, and bicycling are not weight-bearing since your body is not working to support your weight.

How does weight bearing exercise work? Bones are constantly teasing down and rebuilding themselves. There are two types of cells; osteoclasts and osteoblasts that are responsible for the bones' continuous turnover process called remodeling. Osteoclasts break down bone, and osteoblasts build it. As you perform activities that make your bones hold you up, you start the growth of osteoclasts. In other words you simplify your body to lay down more bone material to strengthen them

Weight training exercise.

Weight training exercises also known as strength training exercises, are activities in which you move your body through its range of motion against some kind of resistance. This resistance can be free weights, machines, tubing, or your own body weight. Weight training exercises will also place demands on the bone, but they mainly work to help increase muscle strength. As the muscles become stronger, certain tasks such as standing, walking, rising from a chair, climbing stairs, and lifting objects becomes easier. Stronger muscles also help you maintain balance and avoid falls, decreasing your chances of breaking a bone. Benefits of strength training include stronger muscles that can do larger jobs (such as lifting objects like groceries), stronger muscles that will work longer before becoming exhausted, increase in lean body mass (more muscle, less fat) mean more calories burned even at rest , increase in bone mineral density (stronger bones), improvements in overall stability and balance, and fewer body aches and less fatigue.

How much weight should you use?

Strength training is most effective when doing 8-12 repetitions of each exercise Using less may not give you enough resistance to gain strength. Using less weight with more repetitions does not provide as effective results. One way to help determine the appropriate amount of weight to use is a technique known as the "10 Rep Max." This means finding the maximum amount of weight or resistance you can lift for 10 repetitions. For example, if you can lift three pounds more than 10 times with no difficulty and with good form, then that weight is too light for you. On the other hand if you can just about do 10 repetitions with good form with five-pound weights before getting too tired to continue, than five pounds is a good weight for you to use. However if you are rebuilding from an injury, check with your healthcare provider to determine if using weights is appropriate for your situation. Never sacrifice good lifting technique or range of motion for weight. If the weight is too heavy to allow you to do the exercise correctly through the full range of motion, do not use weight or switch to a lighter weight. Weight training exercises should always be done slowly and with control. A good rule is to use a slow four-thousand count to both lift and lower the weight. Never rapidly swing weights (such as walking while swinging hand weights, or walking with ankle weights on). This not only leads to joint injury, but also does not really isolate the muscle since momentum is doing the work.

Remember, it is also important to vary your routine. Doing the exact same workout for a long period can cause your body to adapt to the exercise and reduce the amount of benefit you are getting. In conclusion, to manage osteoporosis an active lifestyle filled with varied physical activities will help to strengthen your muscles, improve bone strength, reduce the risk of falls, and help you to lead a healthy, active, and more independent life.