If you are taking classes at a studio and the instructors aren’t talking to you about bone density, you should probably be asking yourself why?
According to NIH (National Institute of Health) Osteoporosis is the most common metabolic bone disease, and it affects up to 40% of postmenopausal women. It is considered a silent disease because bone loss occurs without symptoms or signs, and approximately two-thirds of vertebral fractures are asymptomatic. Osteoporosis with fractures frequently goes unrecognized in the clinical setting. Additionally, per IOF (International Osteoporosis Foundation) the risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture over the age of 50 due is one in five for men and one and three for women. The chance of receiving a life changing fracture over the age of 50 is more common than heart disease or cancer. About 25% of those fractures are related to the hip.
Most studios will talk to you about losing ten pounds or getting those washboard abdominals, but few studios actually take the time to talk to you about the long-term benefits of their classes on your overall health. With such an enormous health risk looming, it seems odd that more people don’t talk about something as important as bone density. The simple fact of the matter is most workouts don’t address bone density and many instructors simply don’t know about dangers of bone loss.
The top exercises for counteracting the gradual loss of bone density due to aging or menopause are powerlifting, rowing, and long distance running. All of these exercises share a common theme as they relate to your physiology; they exert pressure on your bones. We at Power Rowing like to refer to them as compression exercises. Exercises such as yoga, swimming, elliptical are expansive exercises and reduce the pressure on your skeletal system by lengthening your muscles or simply applying very little pressure to your body.
If you consider that the body is a super efficient machine, it will look to avoid wasteful energy expenditures and it takes the body an enormous amount of energy to create bones or effectively increase the density of bones. When pressure is reduced on the body such as from the effects loss of muscle tone or simply being sedentary with old age, the body attempts to conserve energy be reducing the amount of attention the bones receive. When you row, you are effectively changing the paradigm and telling the body that there are undo burdens and the body needs stronger bones in order to survive. Exercises that compress the body such as rowing and power lifting create this situation. The advantage of rowing versus power lifting or running is that rowing is low impact and running and power lifting can place a lot of pressure on your joints as well as your bones.