Siobhan Byrne: Benefits of exercise for bone health
As we get older, degeneration and loss of movement may become noticeable, but it's not all doom and gloom, says our fitness expert
Many people associate strength training with creating muscular men and women, which may not be the look we want for our own body shape. In fact, this is far from the truth. Those who view strength training that way need to read up on what the exercise regime really is.
People who read my column on a weekly basis will know that I love strength training. I'm not working towards having a skinny frame. Instead, I like to work towards a strong body which is balanced, so that I look as symmetrical as possible. This is where strength training comes in. The benefits of strength training for lifelong physical function, for both men and women, have been proven again and again. It is especially useful in guarding against the effects of aging in the body.
As we get older, degeneration, bone resorption (the decrease in bone density over time) and loss of movement may become noticeable, but beginning a strength training regime can change your future.
Your body is great at regenerating when we are younger, but as we get older bone tissue loss accelerates and the creation of new bone can not keep up. It is seen more in people who lead sedentary lifestyles, or in women around the menopause.
One of the major benefits of strength training is that it helps to improve bone density. These load baring exercises strengthen the bones. Strength training exercises also help to develop the muscles around the joints, strengthening the ligaments. This is all beneficial for maintaining the movement of the joints. It is important to ensure the exercises are performed correctly, in order to achieve the desired effect.
Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week
Focus on the menopause
1/ Start on your knees or toes, with your hands under the chest and the back flat in a plank position.
2/ Lower yourself to the ground and then back to the start position. Keep the back flat throughout.
Tip: If you struggle with this exercise try using a step and complete the repetitions at an incline until you master it.
1/ Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands by your sides.
2/ Squat down towards the ground, pushing your hips back and ensuring that your knees don't go beyond your shoe laces.
3/ Jump up in the air and land back into a squat position and repeat.
Support the body by leaning on your side, on the elbow and on the side of your foot, with the opposite foot sitting on top. Keep your body straight and hold that position. Try to hold the position for at least 15-20 seconds while keeping your form perfect.
1/ Start on your toes and hands with your arms straight, back flat and your feet together.
2/ Jump your feet out to the sides without moving hand position. Immediately jump back to the middle and repeat. Keep your back flat throughout.
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