The term "strength training" conjures images of bulging muscles and heavy lifting. But strength training is more than just building muscle mass, and the benefits for men and women go far beyond a nice physique. Numerous studies have shown that strength training can off-set the age-related decline of bone density in men and women and has even been shown to build bone mass in some studies. Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease and is associated with loss of bone mass or density, weak bone structure and strength, and an increased risk of bone fractures. Around 14.1 million Americans 50 and older suffer from osteoporosis. Loss of bone mass and osteoporosis is one of the biggest threats to the health and independence of individuals as they age. Approximately 60% of individuals who suffer hip fractures due to osteoporosis never regain their full independence.

Strength training is an important component to a healthy lifestyle for individuals of all ages. During strength-building exercises as muscles work harder to counter the resistance of weights stress is also placed of the supporting bones, strengthening and building those bones. Young men and women who work out regularly can maximize their peak bone mass during their early 30’s to counter the decline of bone density as they age. For older individuals, keeping bones as healthy as possible as they age can slow the loss of bone mass and postpone the onset of osteoporosis. As with any new workout, consult your physician before you begin.

Tags: strength, strength training, physique, muscle mass