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Osteoporosis and Bodybuilding

By Nipun Liyanage

Osteoporosis is a condition in which one’s bones lose their mass and density and become increasingly fragile. This condition accompanies old age but proceeds at a much faster rate in women, especially sedentary women following menopause. Researchers from Tufts University, Harvard Medical School and Pennsylvania State University conducted a year-long study of 39 postmenopausal women between 50 and 70 years old who were sedentary and estrogen-depleted. As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 20 of the women engaged in high-intensity strength-training just two days a week using just five exercises. The remaining 19 subjects were untrained controls.

At the completion of the study, the strength-trained subjects were found to have increased mineral density of their bones whereas the density in the bones in the control group decreased. In addition and obviously, muscle mass, muscle strength and dynamic balance increased in the strength-trained women while decreasing in the controlled group.

The researchers concluded that “High-intensity strength-training is an effective and feasible means to preserve bone density while improving muscle mass, strength and balance in postmenopausal women.”

As far as I know, this is just one of the several hundreds of studies showing the wonderful benefits of high-intensity strength training or bodybuilding for women, older or otherwise. What this particular study doesn’t mention is that serious bodybuilding not only increases the bone density but bone mass itself. On the other hand, these are just a handful of benefits women can derive from bodybuilding, to say the least. Especially noteworthy is the benefit of “balance” which is simply a side benefit of strong muscles. This simply means you are less likely to fall in the first place, let alone fracture a bone as a result of bodybuilding. What more could anyone ask for?

No one should be surprised that these very old women in the study gained muscle and strength at this age for bodybuilding is such a miracle that can work wonders at any age if you are willing to work hard. I am sure, the subjects didn’t even a follow a bodybuilding diet but still managed to gain all those benefits simply through proper bodybuilding training. It should also be mentioned that there are studies where subjects took bodybuilding at the age of 90 and doubled their strength and greatly increased their muscle mass within just a year.

And please note that the study specifically mentions “High-Intensity” and don’t also forget the very advanced age of the women in study. How many women do you know in Sri Lanka, old or young, who are doing bodybuilding this way to derive these sorts of benefits?

Note: Some content of this article also appears under the following topics: Grandma Bodybuilding and Magnificent Benefits of Bodybuilding for Women.





Nipun Liyanage is Sri Lanka's one and only underground bodybuilding and strength and conditioning coach. He is also a Bodybuilding and Nutritional Consultant and Sri Lanka’s first and only bodybuilding/fitness writer/blogger. He runs his own bodybuilding consultancy service which is an exclusive and underground Bodybuilding/Fitness Consultancy Service dedicated to serious and devoted bodybuilders, athletes and people only. He has more than 15 years of experience in the Sri Lankan fitness industry, 11 of which is as an underground coach. He maintains a blog at www.musclefreak.blog.com and could be contacted at coach.freak@yahoo.com.

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