Ask the Coach

What is the best way to restore bone density through exercise?

Bone like muscle is a living tissue and responds to exercise by becoming stronger. Young men and women who exercise regularly can ensure achieving peak bone mass over those who don’t. Bone mass peaks in our thirties, then we begin to lose bone. Older adults diagnosed with osteoporosis are at risk and should engage in weight bearing activities. Exercise helps maintain strength, coordination and balance, which helps prevent falls and related fractures.

The best exercise for your bones is weight training, plyometrics or any training that forces you to work against gravity. Examples are weight training, walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, tennis, jumping, skipping and dancing. Swimming, elliptical and cycling, are all good activities for cardiovascular benefit, but they are not the best for bone building.

If joints allow, any kind of jumping or rebounding are best. Weight training using multiple joint movements are recommended: squat, lunge, deadlift, push-ups, bench, shoulder press, cling and press, pull-ups, bent over rows, etc. Examples of plyometrics: jump squats, box jumps, jump rope, plyometric push-ups, jumping jacks, burpees and weighted ball movements. All movements have lower impact variations. If deconditioned or elderly, check with your physician. Try a beginner’s exercise class as a starting point or you can use rubber tubing resistance bands.

I’m having a hard time staying motivated to continue working out. Any suggestions?

Motivation is different for everyone but here are some suggestions. You may need to lighten up on your goals. Many new exercisers set goals that are too hard to attain. Try setting something you know you can do. Track your progress with some of the new tracking devices, apps or old school. Tracking your progress is associated with success and is motivating. Compose a speech or a plan for yourself to stay on track when you miss a workout and feel guilty. Don’t let a mistake give you an excuse to give up. Find a workout partner or hire a trainer. Your workout is about you, focus on yourself. Look for friends and family who will cheer you on. Use Ted talks, motivational reading or positive affirmations to stay motivated. Find physical activities you enjoy or try some new ones to add variety. Change up your exercise routine and make it convenient for your schedule. Walk in your neighborhood, garden or turn some music on and move. Focus on staying healthy, enjoying life and feeling empowered. Don’t forget to treat yourself for working out too.

Carla Gray, BSES, HFS, CPT is a persoal trainer and can be reached at
info@fitnessconnection.net or (504) 885-7855.

 

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