Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 7– 1/19/15
When Bea was 47, her doctor told her she had osteopenia, a pre-cursor to osteoporosis (a not-so-fun inheritance from her mom) and put her on Actonel and calcium supplements. Being the drama queen she is, Bea kept picturing her bones getting weaker and more brittle until they dissolved into dust. The answer to her dilemma was weight training. She figured she’d give it a whirl, and see if what the experts said was true: that we can strengthen our bones by lifting weights. She added weight training to other weight-bearing exercises: brisk walking and jogging.
Now in her late fifties, she continues this exercise routine, using weights that range from 3 to 10 pounds. She alternates the weight lifting with her favorite aerobic activities: power walking, running, or Tae Bo. Bea no longer has to take Actonel – her bone density tests have shown that her bones are back! Well, they never actually went anywhere – they’re just stronger and denser. How cool is that?
Bea has also been able to maintain a reasonable weight for her age and height; she weighs around 130 and has a 21.6 BMI. Not bad for someone who’ll be 58 years old this year.
What are some of the other ways that our bodies benefit from strength training?
- Strength training adds to our muscle mass, which in turn enhances our metabolism.
- Strength training can help burn fat – studies have shown that training with weights can be great for reducing stomach fat.
- Strength training makes us stronger, more flexible, and increases our sense of balance.
- Strength training reduces arthritis and back pain.
- Strength training helps control blood sugar in people with Type II diabetes.
- Strength training can help us sleep better.
- Strength training, along with other kinds of exercise, boosts self-confidence!
- Strength training can boost our brain function. A recent study at Georgia Tech University found that lifting weights can boost our memory. You can read more about that benefit here.
Keep in mind that you should check with your primary care doctor if you decide to undertake a strength training program. He or she may advise you to limit yourself to certain types of exercise programs, depending on your current physical condition.
For further reading:
You may want to read this article from The Women’s Heart Foundation which talks about techniques and provides a “how-to” for several weight training exercises.
Risks for osteoporosis
What is osteopenia
Ladies, Don’t be Afraid of Weight Training