Use It or Lose It, Sister

Ladies, did you know that by the time we hit 30, our bones have usually stopped growing? After that, we start to experience gradual bone loss throughout our lives! 

Women are at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis due to a number of gender-specific characteristics, including hormones, pregnancy and breast feeding, and various other biological and physiological factors.  

Because of women’s heightened risk for osteoporosis, and by extension, our likelihood to sustain a devastating bone fracture later in life, it’s never too early (or too late) to fight back against bone loss, and weight-bearing exercise is one of the most effective routes we can take.

I encourage all of my female patients, regardless of age, to start a weight-training regimen. Whether with free weights or machines, weight training is effective and simple because you can do it almost anywhere, any time. In fact, if you don’t have handheld weights at home, you can still do bicep curls, arm circles, and other arm exercises with a can of soup from your pantry. 

Some other exercises and activities I recommend to my female patients include: 

  • Power walking and jogging
  • Hiking and stair climbing
  • Yard work, such as gardening, lawn mowing, and landscaping
  • Team sports, like volleyball, basketball, and soccer
  • Racquet sports, like tennis and racquetball

Notice that all of these forms of activity involve being up and active on your feet. Though swimming and spin classes are easier on your joints, they are primarily cardiovascular exercises, so in terms of strengthening your bones, they aren’t nearly as effective as other activities that force your bones and muscles to work against gravity.

When it comes to your bones, it’s use them or lose them. Start doing your weight-bearing exercises today to cut your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures later in life.

You don’t need an appointment to catch up with me on Twitter! Follow me @MicheleSchulzMD for more insight on women’s health issues.