Building Up Bones to Build Up Protection

strength trainingWhile my mother exercises five or six times a week walking and swimming, a year or so ago she was told at her wellness center that she needs to do more to build up her bones and keep them strong. So mom uses weights a couple of times a week as well as balance training.

I too use weights to develop stronger bones, especially on my upper body. Along with cycling, walking, and the elliptical trainer at least five times a week, I use weights once or twice a week.

So it was with great interest that I read Jane Brody’s New York Times article, Building Up Bones , With a Little Bashing. This August 12, 2013, New York Times article makes for good reading whether you are an adult child or an elder because it explains why different kinds of exercise are important and also describes how ordinary daily tasks can help strengthen bones.

Best Article Quotes 

  • Those who walked for at least eight hours a week (or did the equivalent amount of another activity) were as unlikely to suffer hip fractures as women on hormone replacement therapy, long known to protect bones.
  • Bones, it seems, don’t like constant pressure. They respond better to exercise that involves forceful muscle contractions, occurring in starts and stops and with some variety — as happens, for example, when playing tennis or training with weights.

Recent events have demonstrated how using weights and paying attention to strengthening bones pays off big time in my life.  Over the past year-and-a-half a series of detached retina events has slowed me down, sometimes with four to six weeks of inactivity and including some weeks when I can do nothing but sit looking down at the floor or lie on one side or the other. I make a point of asking the doctor exactly when I can get started again, and I do so slowly.

Twice during this time period I have fallen, usually when I am off-balance because of not-quite-effective depth perception. In both cases the falls were hard, and I landed of parts of my body that should, in theory, have been hurt, at least a bit. But they weren’t. Instead, after both falls I was a bit shaken up and walked around stiffly for a couple of days. I have no doubt at all that my focus on strengthening is the reason I had I had not bone injury.

I’ll keep up with the weights, and I know my mom will, too.

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