Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tip #39: Do weight-bearing exercises

Backpacks are actually great!
First of all, thank you for still reading my blog. By now, you have seen my underwear and my toilet, so I think it's time to move on to less "personal" tips. (Just joking. I'm sure I'll think of something gross soon enough). Today, you get to see my wonderful 15 year old son, Johnny. What a cutie.

In any case, let's talk about the tip. Weight-bearing exercises are essential for good bone health and, when done regularly, can even prevent osteopenia or osteoporosis later in life. Even if you already have one of them (as I do), you can still improve the health of your bones by doing them, or so I'm hoping.

What are weight-bearing exercises? It's any exercise that requires your muscles to work against gravity. When muscles are pulled, bones get rebuilt as well. Almost any exercise is weight-bearing. Two exceptions are swimming and biking. And even activities such as dancing, hiking or doing golf count. In this WebMD article, The Latest Workout Trends, you can find several more, like Tai-Chi and Yoga, and the research that's been already conducted which demonstrates the power of these activities on bone health. Here's also a nice chart from the University of Arizona's "Bone Builders" website, which divides the activities into Beginners (like walking, square dancing, yoga, gardening), Moderate (walking uphill, jogging, weight lifting, tennis), and Advanced (walking with backpack, running, soccer, or any of the other activities mentioned, but done with more intensity). I was glad to find out that I'm already doing some of them, like the walking with a backup and yoga. In fact, while researching for this post I have found a wonderful yoga program created specifically to prevent and treat osteoporosis and osteopenia. It is rather simple, just 12 poses, and I was happy to see that I already do many of them through my Yoga for cancer patients class and Priscilla Yoga Stretches (which by the way, just started running again in channel 21, PBS station in Long Island, for those of you who live around here). But the program run by Dr. Loren Fishman is actually very comprehensive and I may do it myself. I like that this is part of his research and there are already some very impressive preliminary results. This chart shows the numbers after two years of doing the exercises (yes, unfortunately I have found that all this takes a long, long time for it to work, but I'm happy that at least it seems to work). And, if you want to, you can also participate in the study. You can find the forms in his website as well.

I know that we have been told that by taking calcium and calcium supplements our bones will be fine, but unfortunately I just don't think this is the case. I believe we do need to work a bit hard at this (at least 30 minutes a day, which may really not be that hard to do if you include house cleaning and similar activities). Or, maybe you can do what this lady says, that by doing a 60 second plank a day, you may be able to reverse your bone health. I'm actually going to try this too, but I'm adding it to the rest (I do think we do need to do a bit more).

I have to say that I love the fact that I discover so many things by researching for this blog. That was one of the motivators, definitely, when I started it. But another one is to know that I have people who read it. It does amaze me every time I see the page views counter, getting larger and larger. I can never say thank you enough.

Are you already actively doing these types of exercises? Have any more suggestions? I always learn from you!

Have a great week!


  1. Que foto mas linda.Enri

  2. Hi really I enjoyed you blog very much and got a very great information about the weight bearing exercises. One of my friends passing through from this phase I am going to refer this blog post to my friend. He will definitely like your blog and have the benefit of this information.

  3. Thanks, Adam. I'm glad you like it!