Resistance Training & Stronger Bones for Life
Holistic health is the “whole person’s health” preserving the mental, physical, and spiritual capacities. Likewise, as a person lives through the different life stages, we began to learn how to care for our bodies. In connection to exercise and physical activity, there are benefits in utilizing workouts with certain intensities and weights that will prolong the human body’s strength across a multi-surface plane. Resistance training prevents osteoporosis; a common disease associated with bone weakness that leads to fractures. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria, osteoporosis causes the body to have the lowest bone mineral density (National Library of Medicines, National Institutes of Health, 2018). When we think of another “work out program,” let me suggest reiterating this term with “physical activity,” more precisely, resistance training. Here is an overview of how resistance training can stimulate bone cell growth and in the long run make bones strong.
First, the term “mechanical overloading” is a technical way of describing resistance training. Formally, resistance training is forcing a group of muscles to contract by applying weight. According to the National Library of Medicine, mechanical overload-induced by exercise training increases the muscle mass and produces mechanical stress in the skeleton enhancing the osteoblast activity (2018). Resistance training places an overload of weight on muscles that in return cause the muscle to contract or extend. When a muscle is overloaded, this is what happens:
- Muscles move in response to a message sent from the nervous system
- A chemical reaction happens which means muscle fibers, a single muscle cell that helps control the physical forces within the body, reorganize themselves to shorten the muscle or to contract
- The nervous system stops signaling the muscles, the chemical reaction reverses causing the muscles to reorganize again, and the muscle relaxes (Seladi-Schulman, 2020)
Daily activities do not account for affecting bone mass accretion (National Library of Medicines, National Institutes of Health, 2018). Therefore, resistance training must peak at a certain progress overload percent to create a stimulus on growing bone mass formation.
- 80% to 85% maximum repetitions are a precise guide to activating progress overload.
- Performing a rep with a certain weight that uses a group of muscles and tension is felt after each rep is performed.
- These exercises are performed at the very least twice a week targeted towards large muscle movement across the hips and spine (National Library of Medicines, National Institutes of Health, 2018).
- Bone tissues or skeletal muscles must be exposed to overload in order to excite osteocytes, or bone cells, to remodel the skeletal bone structure. This will result in healthier and stronger bone density.
Bone density is the amount of mineral matter per square centimeter of bones. Bone density is used in clinical medicine as an indirect indicator of osteoporosis and fracture risk (Body, n.d).
Living a Healthy Life
Finally, studies have shown bone cells play a key role in remodeling the bone structure after sensing mechanical overload resulting in bone homeostasis (2018). When you are deciding to take on another work out program or to start lifting for the first time, remember the long-term benefits are securing years to come with stronger bones for optimal health benefits. Perhaps during your retired years, you want to take a cruise to Alaska and hike along with the majestic ice glaciers or scale the Rock Mountains in the mystic western North American countryside. Weightlifting is not just for the young, but for those seeking a life-long pursuit of holistic healthy living.
Types of Resistance Training Programs
- A static contraction of muscle against external resistance without a change in its length or joint motion. Examples are yoga poses such as Plank or the Warrior variations, side bridge, hundred breaths exercise, pushing against a fence
- A dynamic exercise against resistance as a muscle lengthens or shortens through the available range of motion
- Concentric contraction: an active muscle undergoes shortening while overcoming external resistance. Examples are the contraction of biceps curl with fixed weight.
- Eccentric contraction: an active muscle undergoes lengthening while being overcome by external resistance. Examples are an extension of quadriceps during a knee bend.
- An active exercise in which a muscle or group of muscles contracts against a controlled accommodating resistance that is moving at a constant angular velocity. Examples are fitness machines (e.g., stationary bike, bench press machine, bent-over row), dynamometer
RE, resistance exercise. (National Library of Medicines, National Institutes of Health, 2018)
Author: Jamie Moore (senior at Sam Houston State University Pre-Nursing)
Body, V. (n.d.). Muscle Contractions | Learn Muscular Anatomy. Visible Body. Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://www.visiblebody.com/learn/muscular/muscle-contractions
National Library of Medicines, National Institutes of Health. (2018, December 1). Effects of Resistance Exercise on Bone Health. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279907/
Seladi-Schulman, J. (2020, May 12). All About the Muscle Fibers in Our Bodies. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/muscle-fibers