Strong muscles for strong bones

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My doctor says if I strengthen my muscles, I’ll strengthen my bones, too. Is that true? Madeline K.

It’s true that stronger muscles mean stronger bones. Not long ago, there was a study of women who went through early menopause (that increases the risk for osteoporosis) and then adopted a workout routine combining a range of physical activities from lifting weights to jumping rope. After two years of cross-training, the women’s muscle strength and bone mass increased.

Another recent study confirms that increasing muscle mass makes the spongy insides and the hard outsides of bones stronger. For women it is particularly effective in developing stronger, load-bearing bones, such as the hip, lumbar spine and thigh bone.

To protect yourself, adopt a workout routine you can stick to. Mix it up as you work it out to avoid boredom.

First, a good warm-up is crucial before muscle-building or aerobics, especially if you are working out in the morning, when you’re likely a bit stiffer. Then try these:

Explore new equipment at the gym, and try innovative new combo classes: water workouts with swimming and strength training; yoga-lates (a blend of yoga and Pilates); or piloxing, which puts Pilates and boxing together.

Take up a new activity, such as racquetball or ballroom dancing. Learn to jump rope again.

Add intervals — short bursts of increased intensity — to every workout that you can.

Beyond exercise, help your bones stay strong by making sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D-3.

King Features Syndicate



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