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Quote: “In order to be wealthy, you must be healthy”


This month's topic: What exercises will save your bones and muscles?

After the age of thirty, a person will start to lose 1-3% of muscle tissue and bone density in addition to flexibility if weight bearing exercise, stretching and adequate proper nutrition is not performed. However, after age 60, 3-6% per decade is lost just by process of aging without the ability to slow or stagnant the process through exercise. Your ability for building up thicker bone density is best in the years before 25, when bone mineral matrix and collagen fibers are at their peak for building higher formations of bone density. Evidence supports adolescent weightlifters who have had higher bone density than adults with fully matured bones thus supporting early weight bearing exercises is not only critical at a early age to prevent regressing of bone density but essential to increasing the bone density thickness so when one reaches older age they even have a greater starting point to keep bones in a stagnant position and are thicker once regressing starts.

Fitness for reducing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, osteoporosis is attributed to 1.5 million fractures each year 1 in 5 women and men older than 50 have osteoporosis. Bone degeneration is contributed to hip fractures and broken bones from minor and major slips and falls. The end results can be disastrous, due to frail bones when someone falls bed immobility sits in and health related diseases manifest themselves sometimes ultimately resulting in death. The majority of these fractures, broken bones or diseases are avoidable with proper exercise selection. The exercises that elicit the most bone formation are ones that direct the force vectors through the spine and hip.  The exercises that would benefit one most for these benefits are: squats, lunges, over head presses and any multi joint/compound movement exercise.  The use of body-part or isolation machine exercises by bracing and stabilizing the rest of the body with equipment supports like the machine knee extension or seated machine biceps curl would not.  Performing a standing back squat or overhead press drives the compression forces through the spine and hips.  The isolation exercise ie: biceps curl, triceps pushdowns, leg curls/extensions does not allow the use of synergistic (many muscles used together) muscle groups and stabilizers acting on the vertebrae column during machine exercises or these isolation exercise.  Varying the exercise selection changes the distribution of the force vectors to continually present a unique stimulus for new bone formation.  So, regardless of age, start saving your muscles and bones by building up higher density to have a greater starting point. Or, if Mother Nature is already working against you, start choosing exercises that will save your body and assist you from an early retirement of laying or sitting down before you choose to!


By: J. D. Reber M.S. & B.S. Exercise Science, CSCS & NASM- CFT

References: The Physician and Sportsmedicine October 2000, vol 28, #10

Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, vol 32, #11, 2000              

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning 2nd Edition

Remember, eat healthy and live wealthy!

Personal training in Lenox, MA