Anti-aging exercise: Weight bearing activity
Anti-aging exercise. You may have read that exercise promotes health and happiness. Many
books and articles suggest walking, jogging, running and other
'aerobic' exercise. BUT it is also important to include exercises that
are 'weight bearing'. Why? These
stimulate your body to build new, strong bones.
Your bones are living
tissues. Your bones constantly renew themselves - discarding 'old'
weaker bone and creating new strong
bones. How is this done? Your bones have two types of cells. Osteoclasts that remove old bone.
Osteblasts build new bone.
Until age 33 or 35 your Osteoblasts
are more active than your Osteoclasts. (This is why children's bones
grow longer each year and why the bones of young adults get denser and
thicker each year.) After age 35, your Osteoblasts slow down. The
balance between Osteoblasts and Osteoclasts shifts. And if
you do not take special care to build new, strong bone, your body will
remove more bone than it makes. Result? Your bones may become thin
(Osteopenia) and if the bone removal continues unabated you will have a
more serious condition: Osteoporosis (porous bones). With either of
these conditions, you are at greater risk for fractures.
When doing Anti-aging exercise, it is important to include some that 'weight bearing'. These exercises are what
stimulate your Osteoblasts to build new bone.
Your bones are living tissues. Like all tissues, bone renews itself. Osteoclasts are cells that remove old bone and
Osteblasts are the cells that build new bone. Up until age 33
or 35 your Osteoblasts (bone builders) are more active than your
Osteoclasts. That is why children's bones grow longer and why the
bones of young adults get denser and thicker. But after age 35, things
change. Your bone building Osteoblast cells slow down and your body
begins to remove more bone than it makes.
If you do not work at building bone, you will develop Osteopenia. (thin bones). This can progress to a more serious condition, Osteoporosis (porous bones). With either condition, you are at greater risk for fractures.
How weight bearing activities help
When you put stress on your bones, your Osteoblasts (bone building) cells are stimulated to greater activity.
Various types of weight bearing activities can be an Anti-aging exercise for your bones. And the sooner you
start after reaching your mid-thirties, the better. You can prevent excessive bone loss before it starts!
What sorts of Anti-aging exercise fits the 'weight bearing' definition.
First let's consider what is NOT a weight bearing activity. Two popular activities come to mind: swimming
and cycling. Many people feel surprise to find that these activities are not bone builders. But it is true. In fact, long distance cyclists have been found to have more bone loss that participants in any other sport.
Also, excessive exercise of any type is not good for your bones. Recent research has shown the going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week and working out for an hour or two could interfere with bone building. MORE is not always better.
Weight bearing activity that will have a positive effect on your bones:
- Walking. Walking is one of the very few activities that fits all three Anti-aging exercise types:
balance & co-ordination, cardio-vascular AND it can be weight bearing. Example: Research studies show that fast walking can
prevent bone loss in adults. Fast walking stimulates your Osteoblasts to make bone. Since most adults lose about 1% of bone a year ( women lose about 4-5% during
and right after menopause) anything tht builds bone is worth considering. Read more about this at:
Walking as an Anti-aging exercise"
- Impact exercise: jumping, hopping, jogging,
running and walking downstairs all fit in this
category. (Note: Researches have found that walking up stairs is a good cardio-vascular activity but walking downstairs stimulates
stronger bones.) A special caution: If you have bone loss, the jarring found in jumping, hopping, jogging or
running could cause small or regular fractures on impact. If you have
any of the risks for Osteopenia it might be a good idea to have a dexa
scan screening before starting an impact activity
program. In any case, do check with your health care provider before starting a new exercise program.
- Weight lifting. As early as the 1970's researchers at Tuffts
University found that lifting weights can increase bone density - even in
those who already have excessive bone loss....even among persons in
their 70's and 80's! Great news since the older you get, the
more difficulty it is to build new bone. So the fact that the elders
can increase bone density through lifting weights, is encouraging. Of course the weight lifting has to be done in a special way. If you go
to a gym, you will see many body builders lifting
weights. Some use the momentum of the weight to help with the lifting. They lift their weights fast. That sort of lifting will
not build stronger bones as much as s-l-o-w lifting and s-l-0-w return
If you are lifting weights as an Anti-aging exercise, you want to lift slowly - some would say to the count of 8 (ie., count 8 up and 8 down - a count of 10 is
even better.) When the weight if fully extended from your body, hold it there for a second, then
bring it back to its original place just as slowly, to the same
count as you used for lifting it up.
How heavy a weight? Start with a weight you find very easy to lift. This will
help you get into the rhythm of s-l-o-w
count up and s-l-o-w return. Lift each weight with your slow count 2 or 3
After you are used to the slow rhythm begin to increase your weight each week until you have a weight that you can lift only for
one full count of 10. In time, you will find it easier to lift that
weight. When you can lift it with a slow count out and slow count back 10
times and you can do that 3 times in a row, you are ready to go to the next level weight.
Note: If you are doing this this Anti-aging exercise to build stronger bones,
do not rush to get on heavier weights too. This is not a contest. Your
Osteoblasts respond to NEW stress, so each progressive weight increase can stimulate the building of bone. If you rush ahead, skipping weights, you will have cheated yourself of some extra bone building.
- Any heavy manual labor: gardening, carpentry, stacking cord wood, carrying bags of groceries, carrying children orboxes of
books etc. are all weight bearing activities that can stimulate
to build more bone.
More than one adult has decided to build in 'small' increases in their
Anti-aging exercise by parking a distance from
stores in the mall and carrying packages to their car - instead of using
a rolling cart. Others insist on walking downstairs instead of taking escalators
The choice is yours. You can build weight bearing
activities into your day or you can go to they gym to life weights or you can buy some
weights to use at home. But weight bearing is one of the most important
kinds of Anti-Aging exercise activity's for anyone who wants to remain
young and vibrant into their 90's.
All other Anti-aging activities will be of little use if you need a walker or wheel chair because you broke
your hip or if you have developed a back hump from spontaneous
You need weight bearing activity and the sooner you begin the better for you.
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