The sneaky disease that makes women fragile... And how to prevent it.
Fragile. It’s not how anyone wants to be described.
Yet millions of people’s bodies will become fragile as they get older, large in part to a disease called Osteoporosis.
Luckily, there is an easy solution to preventing and reversing Osteoporosis and it only takes 20 minutes.
What is osteoporosis?
The Mayo Clinic classifies Osteoporosis as a disease that “causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.
Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn't keep up with the loss of old bone.”
Who gets osteoporosis?
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), about 10 million people in the US have osteoporosis. The NOF states that individuals are most susceptible when above the age of 50, are female, have small/thin frames, have a family history of osteoporosis, and have suffered skeletal issues as adults (fractures or “shrinking” due to an increased curve of the spine).
“Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races. But white and Asian women — especially older women who are past menopause — are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.” (Mayo Clinic)
How serious is it?
Osteoporosis is pretty serious. In fact our own Founder’s grandmother died of complications from having the disease.
Matt Hedman’s grandmother had Osteoporosis and as she got older she started getting Kyphosis in her spine– which is when you start to get hunched over. The Kyphosis got progressively worse and worse with age.
By the time that she was in her early to mid-80s, the Kyphosis was so severe that the bones had become too soft and could not prevent the collapse of her chest cavity, greatly reducing the amount of oxygen she was able to get.
Eventually, she couldn't breathe effectively and she passed away around the age of 86.
How do you prevent it?
Weight-bearing exercise, particularly slow-motion strength training has been proven to prevent bone loss.
In fact, Slow-Motion Strength Training was originally created at the University of Florida as a solution to treat women with Osteoporosis because it was proven to help build bone density in addition to muscle and other incredible benefits.
The Perfect Workout offers an incredibly simple solution with 20-minute, twice a week training sessions.
How does strength training prevent osteoporosis?
Strength training increases bone density.
This occurs through two mechanisms.
- First, exercises that involve multiple joints (i.e. the leg press and chest press) produce forces that cause your bones to temporarily bend slightly. The body essentially perceives the bending as a weakness and reacts by depositing more calcium in the bones.
- The second mechanism is one that can occur with any exercise. Muscles are attached to bones via tendons. When muscles contract, they pull on the tendons, which pull on the bones to cause the desired movement. In response to strenuous muscle contraction, calcium is deposited at the part of the bone where the tendon pulls.
While seniors have osteoporosis more often, strength training can also help younger women, making it a preventative measure as well.
A total of 70 women between the ages of 18-26 trained three times per week for five months in one study.
At the end, bone density was increased in the thigh, forearm, and lower leg. An interesting aspect of this study was that only one half of the body was exercised. Despite only training one arm and one leg, bone density still improved in parts of the untrained leg! The exercise had a ripple effect that carried over to untrained areas. Imagine if these women trained their entire bodies like we do in our 20-minute sessions.
I have osteoporosis. Can it be reversed?
Yes. Although everyone’s bodies are different and react differently to the stimulus of exercise, studies show that Osteoporosis can be reversed and bone density levels can normalize through strength training.
Another study split 38 women, between the ages of 65-75, into two groups: a strength training group and a control group .
- The strength training group trained three times per week using a slow lifting cadence and their routines focused on exercises using the large muscle groups (i.e. leg press, bench press, etc.).
- The control group did not change their normal lifestyles.
After one year, the strength training group increased bone density in their hips and lumbar spine (lower back). The increase was small but consistent throughout the women.
Conversely, the control group lost bone density in their femurs, hips, and lumbar spine.
In other words, strength training reversed bone loss that would have occurred had the women continued their usual lifestyles.
However, that's not the only good news to come out of this study. As mentioned, the lower back gained bone density…even though there were no lower back exercises.
How is this possible?
The researchers said this is likely from the leg press. The hip movements of the leg press utilize the hip flexors and extenders, some of which connect to the spine. The use of these muscles put a positive force on the spine that resulted in the bone density improvement.
In this same study, no injuries were reported . The strength training group participated in over 2,500 sessions and suffered ZERO injuries!
As you can see, strength training offers women, including senior women, a safe way to change nature's course and regain bone density in critical areas.
SMST is the best medication
For many clients who have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis, they are faced with life-long medications such as Fosamax.
Rather than getting a prescription for medication, our client, Lori Grosse's wishes her physicians prescribed her slow-motion strength training.
“If they had said to me, ‘There is a group called The Perfect Workout that is designed for women with osteoporosis. It’ll only take you two times a week for 20 minutes.’ I would have said, ‘Give me the info!’”
The fact is we’ve helped many clients get off their Osteoporosis medications as a result of slow-motion strength training.
Whether you are at high risk for Osteoporosis or not, you’re losing muscle and bone each year. The only way to truly combat that is to actively strength train.
20-minutes is all you need!
Jordan Thomson is passionate about fitness and helping others live sustainably healthy lives. Jordan joined The Perfect Workout in 2013 as a Personal Trainer in Newport Beach, CA. Since then she has helped expand our company with new studios in Chicago, IL and led teams of trainers in Philadelphia as well as Los Angeles. Now she serves as a creative mind within the Marketing team to help spread our mission to revolutionize the way people exercise.