Here’s a Doctor’s Take On Why Weight Training is Necessary As We Age
Muscle & Fitness discusses tips for maintaining bone health while aging with Linda A. Russell, MD, rheumatologist and director of perioperative medicine at HSS.
According to Dr. Russell, “There are two major bone cell types. The osteoclast, and the osteoblast. From the day that we are born, until around age 25 to 30, we make more bone than we lose. So, the bone strength gets better and better. And then somewhere around 25 and 30, we all sadly reach our peak bone density, and that’s the strongest that our bones will ever be. Then, as we start the normal aging process, we start to lose more bone than we make and slowly the bone density begins to decline.”
“Weight-bearing exercises are wonderful for bones. So, if you participate in a regular weight-bearing exercise program, your bone health will be absolutely better,” she said.
Dr. Russell explained, “And we know that, for instance, if you go into space, astronauts lose lots of bone because there is no gravity. If you take someone who is sick, and you put them in a hospital bed, within about two weeks they’ll start losing bone. The more that you can have activities where you are against gravity, the better your bone health is going to be.”
Dr. Russell underscored that a good workout program becomes even more essential after age 40, because muscle mass is already beginning to decline naturally.
She continued, “You lose about a third of a pound of muscle mass per year. You can work hard so that this doesn’t happen. You can exercise and do your weight training, but if you’re just a guy that doesn’t really exercise you will start losing muscle and if you looked at an MRI of the that muscle, it has more fat interspersed with the muscle. For someone that is very fit, there is very little fat in the muscle shown on an MRI.”
“Muscle is attached to bone. Muscle pulls on bone. The stronger the muscle, the greater the pull on the bone, and the better it is for the bone,” added Dr. Russell.
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