"The Forgotten Bones" (Blog #142)
Lets face it, most of us don't train to increase the strength of our bones. Actually, most people don't even know that resistance training can increase the strength and size of your bones. Overtime your muscles and bones atrophy (get smaller) if you don't do physically demanding tasks throughout the day. Modern humans have encountered a problem that our ancestors probably never had to deal with, weak bones. The "good old days" of humans being extremely physical to survive are over for most, we now sit around a lot. All that sitting is causing record high numbers of osteoporosis in many of our older humans.
Osteoporosis is basically when your bone density goes down and you become more susceptible to a break after a fall. The good news is that we now know that resistance training can not only keep the bone density you currently have, but it can also send signals that allow hormones to add new bone cells. These new bone cells increase the strength of your bones and make you stronger and less prone to injury.
Watching many of my family members and elderly neighbors fall and break bones over the years has really shown me how important bone density can be. For an elderly person after a fall and break, life changes drastically for them. The limited movement they already had has just been jeopardized. The more we move, the more we can move...And vice versa!
When you lift weights your muscles have tension on them and pull on your bones. If the resistance is enough to challenge/stimulate the muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones, your body will send out signals to certain hormones telling them to protect themselves form injury; so they get stronger and thicker making them less susceptible to popping or breaking.
Your bones are just like the frame of a huge skyscraper, we don't want to build a building with cheap plastic, we want strong steel. This steel will ensure just the right amount of strength, flexibility and protection from whatever life may throw at you. This is why it's important to stay away form the five pound pink dumbbells most of the time. You must create change and adaptation in your body with relatively heavy weight. I realize that 'heavy" is relative, but your weights must stimulate your body enough to elicit change (bigger bones, fat loss, etc).
So not only does proper weight training get you stronger, but it makes your bones stronger and less prone to injury. That same stimulus creates a cascade effect of hormones that come out to help you get leaner and feel better (lipase & serotonin). Lipase is an enzyme that breaks down fat to help you lean out, and serotonin is a "feel good hormone" that well, makes you feel good after a training session.
Baring a few exceptions, we choose to let our bones get weak and frail by sitting around too much watching net-flix, or we can choose to put an hour a day in of resistance training to prevent these problems. Training must be made a priority in your daily life; three or four hours a week at the gym, and a couple of hikes/runs in the park should be mandatory for all. The quality of your life will skyrocket when these goals are met.
Most people are so content and afraid to step outside of their comfort zones because they fear what other people will think. Think about that for a second...If you're doing something (like hitting up the gym) to better yourself, people will be inspired. Of course, you may encounter a few haters, but you will motivate someone else who wants to do it too but are afraid. Forget the haters and get your butt in gear for you, your family and your health...
"Don't be a victim, be hard to kill!"