Fitness Articles

Strength Training: Good for Muscles, Great for Bones

Lift your way to Stronger Bones

1KSHARES
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My doctor frowned last spring as he studied the test results. "You have a little bone thinning," he said. "It's time for you to start some resistance training."

The news didn't surprise me. My grandmother was stooped by the time she was in her fifties. My mother suffers from compression fractures in her back. She always enjoyed being out in the world, and it hurts me to see her housebound now. I definitely have the pedigree for "thinning," as my doctor euphemistically put it.

Yet I defied his advice. "Resistance training? I get resistance from my children, my husband, and now from my parents. How much resistance does one person need before they develop strong bones?" I make lame attempts at humor when my feet are in the stirrups. Besides, I've always exercised regularly. I've jumped around like a spastic marionette, flinging my limbs about and wheezing asthmatically in aerobics classes for the past twenty-five years.

I reconsidered the doctor's advice when, recovering from surgery, I realized how limited I was in upper body strength. And witnessing my mother's anguish - the pain it causes her to get up out of a chair - has left me helpless, wanting both to improve my own health, and to do something in honor of her suffering. Intercession for me often takes the form of exercise - I walk two miles on behalf of a grieving friend, and I swim laps the way other people say Hail Marys. I decided weight training wasn't a bad idea.

Two mornings a week now I meet at the gym with a personal trainer. She challenges me to do things with weight machines and dumbbells that I didn’t think were possible. Miriam is a cheerleader in this bone-building project. "Okay, let me show you the form," she says, jumping easily onto a contraption designed by war criminals. "Let's go for fifteen reps." She leaps off the machine and looks expectantly at me. I hesitate for a half a second. After all, I'm paying this woman to get me in shape. She should know (…shouldn't she?) what is too much and what is just enough? I enjoy the luxury of putting my busy mind on hold and doing what I am told.

I've surprised myself, these past few months. I'm up at dawn, ready to go. Undiscovered muscle groups are announcing their presence. They sing, "We're here!" during the workout and in the pleasant soreness that comes the day after.
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About The Author

Daphne Stevens, Ph.D. Daphne Stevens, Ph.D.
Daphne is a life coach and author of Watercolor Bedroom: Creating a Soulful Midlife. For more information about her workshops and coaching services, go to www.daphnestevens.com.

Member Comments

  • Great article! It's funny and touching and so inspiring! Thank you! I've always been committed to running and walking - but I've always known I SHOULD add some weight/strengthen
    ing exercises to my routine. This article has inspired me to take action! - 4/3/2016 8:26:18 AM
  • At first I didn't like the use of the word failure. I had always heard it called fatigue. But then I thought about your point - that not stopping and just pushing on through might lead to injury. And I got it. That in all things in life - there is a point when you need to stop and rest and try again later, or else you will fail and might injure yourself. Thanks for the invaluable tip. - 4/2/2016 12:42:04 PM
  • Kudo's to you and this "Power House" article. Many years ago I was given the same information and doubted it but did it anyway(the source was reliable). They also suggested the calcium & vitamin D3 thing.
    It's all paid off! I'm 71 and can still handle a good amount of weight during my workouts (anywhere between 4 and 18 lbs) .
    Recent Dextra found ostiopina but nothing major and I'm able to keep up my workout "menu" : ) Life is good but its better when you LISTEN to the folks in the know. -shoreido- - 4/2/2016 10:50:42 AM
  • KAM1953
    Good for you! I love you perspective. - 4/2/2016 9:55:09 AM
  • I cried after reading this. Thank you. - 4/2/2016 2:18:37 AM
  • FROGSMILE
    I love this article! It is very well written and thought provoking--and maybe, action provoking. Can't get any better than that! - 2/29/2016 5:56:36 AM
  • I had never heard that expression - working to the point of failure. I like it! - 12/1/2015 8:59:01 AM
  • If you're going to go to the gym and use the equipment, MEET WITH A TRAINER. If your form is poor, or you're lifting too much weight, you can seriously injure yourself. - 11/30/2015 8:48:47 AM
  • I too need to watch out for this, heredity is wonderful. But i never knew resistance training would help. Thank you for the great article and the prayers. - 6/24/2015 10:56:38 AM
  • My mother AND dad both had osteoporosis. ME, I did not want to cough up my one inch above 5 feet. But it went anyway. Last April (14) I learned of a place where the personal training team of husband and wife, would guarantee they could help me build strenght, muscle and bone. Well, I cannot get over the difference it has made in my life. I will be leaving their care in February, but they are helping me set up a continued training program I can use at my regular gym. BLESS them both! At 70 I do not intend to loose one more inch! Can hardly wait to get my bone density done next year. I am anxious to see my improvement. - 11/25/2014 1:51:00 PM
  • Great article, just had the same talk with my doctor too. Also love the Term "pleasant soreness", that is the way it feels to me. I really love feeling the muscle soreness because it reminds me that I am doing good and something important for my body. Not so sore, I can't move, but I can feel my muscle's presence. Thanks for sharing !! - 10/15/2014 12:28:11 PM
  • nice article...so glad u found the weight room. I love my weight lifting sessions..I am off to go do one now....... - 8/20/2014 9:32:11 AM
  • JUDYERAE
    Very inspiring and humorous, too. - 5/14/2014 9:24:30 AM
  • I love the idea of intercessory prayer while working out. Thanks for your comments. - 5/13/2014 5:05:34 PM
  • BACKNBUSINESS
    Great article
    - 3/31/2014 8:41:28 AM

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