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Thursday, November 26, 2015

The benefits of strength training for those with osteoporosis

Osteoporosis results from the loss of bone mineral density mass, which leads to the increased risks of fractures. A lack of weight bearing exercise is one of the leading causes of osteoporosis. Strength training has many benefits for those who suffer from osteoporosis. Research has shown that strength training with people who have osteoporosis, not only increases muscular strength and endurance, but also increases bone mineral density (Menkes, et al.) This is extremely important as bone mineral density is a vital factor in osteoporosis.

Strength training not only slows the age related loss of bone mineral density, but it can actually help build it back up. Research has found that resistance training increased bone mineral density in test subjects, as well as reducing fall risks and improving activities of daily life (Warburton, Nicol, and Shannon).

Other studies have shown that high intensity strength training, performed as little as two days per week, can have a positive effect on preserving bone mineral density while improving muscle mass, strength, and balance in postmenopausal women (Nelson, et al.).

Research has shown that power training, characterized by explosive, dynamic movements, is even superior to standard, strength training. Power training has been determined to be beneficial in preserving bone mineral density as well as increasing muscular strength and endurance in postmenopausal women. Another significant finding was that power training did not cause any increases in pain among the study participants (Stengel, et al.).

Numerous forms of weight bearing exercise and strength training have been shown to have positive effects on osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercise and strength training are highly recommended by various research authors, for older adults and those who suffer from osteoporosis, for both preventative measures and for the reversal of bone mineral density loss. Strength training builds and strengthens bone mineral density, connective tissue and lean muscle tissue. This can help prevent and reverse osteoporosis, mitigate the risks of falling and increase balance and mobility. The benefits are considered to far outweigh the risks.


Knopf, Karl. Senior Fitness. 3rd ed. Carpinteria: International Sports Sciences Association, 2013. Print.

Menkes, A., et al. “Strength training increases regional bone mineral density and bone remodeling in middle-aged and older men”. Journal of Applied Physiology (1993) : 2478-2484. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

Nelson, Miriam E., et al. “Effects of High-Intensity Strength Training on Multiple Risk Factors for Osteoporotic Fractures”. The Journal of the American Medical Association (1994) : 1909-1914. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

Stengel, S., et al. “Power training is more effective than strength training for maintaining bone mineral density in postmenopausal women”. Journal of Applied Physiology (2005) : 181-188. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

Warburton, Darren, Nicol, Crystal, and Bredin, Shannon. “Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence”. Canadian Medical Association Journal (2006) : 801-809. Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

Eric Dempsey
Master Sergeant, U.S. Army Retired
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