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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Osteoporosis

Question: Preventing Osteoporosis

 sheila373 - Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:31 pm

I am a healthy middle-aged woman and would like to stay that way. Is running/jog-ing better for increasing bone density than weight-training is? I thought you had to stress the bone somewhat but I am also concerned about OVER-stressing my knees and ankles. A trainer at a gym told me the eliptical machine is better for your joints and that lifting weights is what helps prevent osteoporosis. I'm very small and small-boned and it concerns me; I've broken bones in the past. (I thought that if you strengthen the muscles supporting the joints enough, it is best to run.)
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:08 pm

User avatar Hello,
Thanks for writing in.

Yes, studies have shown that high impact exercise increases bone mineral density (especially in young women as they reach their peak bone mass usually in their 20's). As women age, the Improvement lessens and exercise's goal is for maintenance of bone density.

Jogging can increase your risk of foot,ankle, knee and hip problem. So if you plan to start a jogging program, I would recommend 6 weeks of leg strengthening and stretching before starting to run. Also, you should be able to walk at least the same time or distance you plan to run (This should be obvious but some people go right into running - there was a recent report of an unconditioned man who was forced to run mile after mile as training in a "prison boot camp". He suffered bilateral tibial plateau fractures...from running on unconditioned legs.) This preparation will build a good strength and flexibility foundation. The other benefits of running are cardiovascular and some say mental improvement.

The eliptical machine can be incorporated into the 6 weeks conditioning program and can be used as a cross training exercise during your running program.

Yes, smaller framed women tend to become osteoporotic more than heavier women. The exact mechanism is unknown - whether it's thicker bones or the extra weight?

Other factors affecting bone density: hormones (parathyroid, estrogen), nutrition, amount of sun exposure, smoking, excessive alcohol use, and medication (glucocorticoids).

Hope this helps. Keep us posted and happy exercising.
 sheila373 - Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:53 pm

Dear PA-C Plamondon,
Thank-you very much for your careful reply. I really appreciate it. Sorry it took me so long to look it up.
Am still working on getting in my best shape.
I am imagining that my bones will still respond to stimulation even though I'm way past my 20's. But I will work on strenghtening the supporting muscles, etc. I knew that trainer was mistaken! People tend to doubt me because I am small. Gyms hire unqualified people sometimes; I'd like to become a trainer myself!
Thanks again.

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