Updated: Aug 15
As a career Nutritionist and Master Trainer, it is my priority to stay informed on holistic approaches and preventative methods for women's health concerns. My own gender and age add an increased interest in these processes for my personal health, as well as professionally.
There are many conditions that are particularly concerning for women. Bone loss (or the loss of bone density and strength) is a major one - and for good reason. It is a true health concern. Osteoporosis is a condition in which bone density has become concerningly low.
All females start losing bone density by their late 20's. Bone loss increases the risk for fractures, loss of mobility, reduced quality of life, increased personal health care costs, and even decreases life expectancy.
While we cannot stop the decline of bone density all together, there are things we can do to slow it down substantially and effectively.
Proper nutrition - Plenty of protein, fruits and vegetables
Check with your doctor for possible need for vitamin supplements - Vitamin D & Calcium
Strength Training & other exercises
Strength Training At Any Age
While starting early is ideal, it is never to late and should seriously considered as preventative medicine. My experience of working with women for more than 20 years has shown me - women do build muscle (which protects bones). Research has shown this to be true even if starting a strength training program later in life.
Our client Joy is an excellent example who underscores the data.
Women can offset health risks through holistic approaches, including strength training.
Joy was not new to the gym arena or strength training when she started working with Pro Push two years ago.
Now 51, lifting has been a part of her regular routine for quite some time. She started strength training at the early age of 14 when her mother took her to a gym.
With such tenured experience under her belt, you may be curious how she is responding to strength training at 51 compared to when younger? Specifically, is she able to still build muscle efficiently and increase in strength; and how does her progress compare to her younger self?
The answer - she has built more muscle and has never been stronger than now.
Joy sought us out after a serious battle with bronchitis that took months to recover from. Like many of life's challenges, this experience renewed her determination to reclaim her health and get into the best shape of her life.
Being familiar with strength training, she knew first hand the positive effects it has on her overall health and wellness. She also knew it was the key to getting into optimal shape.
"This experience left me with an extreme desire to do the things that I have always wanted to do. On top of the recent illness, I was approaching my 50th birthday. It was time to prioritize myself more. I decided to hire a personal trainer, work my butt off, and feel fabulous on my 50th."
And that is exactly what she did! Age was not a factor. In fact, she has gained more muscle mass than in any other time of her life.
Joy hired Pro Push Fitness ultimately because she could see we are proficient in strength training, rather than just focused on HIIT and other cardio based workouts like a lot of other gyms.
"I have definitely seen a difference in my strength and appearance while working with Pro Push. At 51, I have more strength and muscle mass than I have ever had. They keep me accountable for my workouts and push me to work harder than I would on my own."
Strength Training Early
Research has shown strength training is best to start at a very young age for females. This is the optimal time to build up the stores of bone density that will carry the individual through their lifetime. It also allows for strong muscle development which can help to protect the bones.
Getting young girls involved in sports is also a fabulous start. Specifically, high impact movements that will strengthen bone and muscle, such as gymnastics and other sports that include jumping and running. Joy was lucky to have a mom who got her comfortable with strength training. Even if you or your daughter are not into team sports, traditional strength training should be encouraged.
As women age, they have the added challenge of hormonal changes. This can add another layer of risks for her both in reduced bone density and declined muscle strength. Thus, one of the reasons experts recommend starting early.
After a Osteoporosis Diagnosis
If you have a family history or perhaps you have already received a diagnosis, it is not too late to start an exercise program.
You might mistakenly think that exercise will lead to a fracture. On the contrary, research shows conclusively that strength training is safe with your condition and actually can improve it.
Once you consult your doctor, many of our staff and other professionals are skilled in this area and able to help you.
Some areas of exercise Mayo Clinic recommends and we implement in our client's programs are:
Strength training, especially in the upper back area
Weight bearing aerobic activities
Balance and stability exercises
You don't necessarily have to work with a personal trainer. There are many options available. But we strongly encourage you to choose a professional program to ensure safety.
Hybrid training has become quite popular since the pandemic and is probably here to stay. It's a budget friendly and convenient option while still offering guidance.
While Joy has not received a diagnosis of osteoporosis, her age and gender alone place her in an at risk category. Her decision to strength train regularly combats that risk effectively. A structured program, in an environment focused on you and your goals, can be an outstanding resource.
"I really like how my routines are set up to promote super sets throughout the whole workout - which I enjoy and get amazing results. This type of training is nearly impossible at a regular gym. It is to crowded and equipment availability is always an issue. Trainer Chase's customized program has given me results (and a much better workout) in a shorter amount of time."
Regardless of which path you choose, you should start working a strength training program and dial in your nutrition. If you are like many who have gotten out of the habit of exercise or perhaps need to start one for the first time, it is not to late.
Starting now is the best approach for improved health, a sense of well being, and inspire confidence that you are doing your part to take charge of your health.
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