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Building Stronger Bones: The Power of Weight Lifting

The Power of Weight Lifting

When I talk to patients about weight lifting at OWL Chiropractic, most of them immediately think of an 20-something-year-old male in a gym, wearing a tank top, with biceps the size of their head, grunting over loud heavy metal music as he lifts a barbell over his head. While this isn’t an inaccurate statement of what weight lifting can be, there are other ways to lift weights that help benefit your overall health that I wish more of my patients knew about and embraced. 

From stronger muscles and bones to higher self-esteem, weight lifting can benefit your health in many ways. One of the most common reasons people ask me about weight lifting is because they are concerned about osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and increases fracture risk. Osteoporosis happens when bones lose density and mineral content, making them fragile. This can occur due to aging, hormonal changes (like menopause), or certain medications. While anyone can develop it, women are at a higher risk, particularly after menopause.

The Power of Weight Lifting

The Power of Weight Lifting

Here's the exciting part: weight training can be a game-changer for bone health. Studies show weight lifting can actually stimulate bone growth, leading to increased bone mineral density, especially in the hips and spine, which are common fracture sites. Weight lifting can also improve the strength of muscles, which you lose 3-8% of per decade after turning 30 years old. Stronger muscles provide better support for your bones, reducing stress and strain. This can help prevent falls, a major risk factor for fractures with osteoporosis. Weight training also improves balance and coordination, further reducing fall risk.

Getting Started Safely

If you have osteoporosis or are trying to avoid having it in the future, weight training is incredibly beneficial, but it's crucial to approach it safely. First, make sure to check with your doctor if you do have osteoporosis for advice on what exercises and weight limits are suitable for you. Always make sure to focus on proper form more than lifting heavier weights, as improper form paired with heavy weights is likely to lead to injury.

The Power of Weight Lifting

Aim to start with 2-3 sessions per week and aim for 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise with compound exercises. Exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, like squats, lunges, and rows, are most beneficial for bone health. The exercises you do and how many sets and reps should change over time to help build and challenge your body. Working with a qualified trainer to learn proper form and to get a customized program that will consider your specific needs and limitations is the best way to optimize your results.

If you have any questions at all about weight training, don’t hesitate to ask any of the three doctors at OWL Chiropractic at your next appointment. We would be more than happy to point you in the right direction. 

The Power of Weight Lifting

One Final Note (or Two)

Ladies, you will absolutely not get accidentally “big and buff” by picking up some weights. Even if you decide to start lifting heavy - something I highly recommend under the right circumstances - you still won’t get big and buff without extreme effort and meticulous diet considerations. Lifting weights can be a very fulfilling experience mentally and emotionally….so don’t be afraid to give it a try!

Overall, building strong bones and a stronger you is possible by lifting weights. By incorporating weight lifting into your routine, you can take charge of your bone health and live a more active, independent life!

Remember: weight lifting is a journey, not a race. Start slow, listen to your body, and gradually increase intensity as you get stronger.

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