You may not know it, but having a high bone density level is paramount for good health – especially as you age. Once you hit 40 your bone mineral density declines at an accelerated rate. And as your bone density decreases you can expect increased likelihood of fractures and a rise in the risk of osteoporosis.
Now the good news: when it comes to growing strong bones downing countless glasses of milk isn’t the only way to go. Research shows that low-weight, high-repetition resistance training can be an effective way to increase your bone density.
These findings come courtesy of a 27-week study by Les Mills and Penn State University. Twenty adults ranging from 28 to 63 years were randomly divided into two groups: some did BODYPUMP™ (low-weight, high-repetition resistance training) and some did BODYBALANCE™/BODYFLOW® (a fusion of yoga, Pilates and tai chi). Both groups also did RPM™ cycle workouts.
Researchers found those who regularly did BODYPUMP (2-3 times a week) increased bone mineral density in their arms, legs, pelvis and spine. They also saw impressive gains in squat strength, which can be directly correlated to increases in bone mineral density.
The benefits of BODYPUMP were most apparent for those who had osteopenia, and for post-menopausal women. These groups increased bone density at the hip and pelvis by 29 percent, and 22 percent respectively. Improving bone density in both the pelvis and legs is thought to help prevent potentially fatal fractures of the hip.
Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research, says these findings have turned an old theory on its head. “It's often thought that you need to lift heavier weights to improve bone mineral density. This study demonstrates that lifting light weights for high repetitions is extremely beneficial.”
This is great news for older and untrained people looking to strengthen their bones, says Hastings. “Lifting very heavy weights has always presented barriers for older and untrained adults as sometimes this type of intensity can be outside the realm of their physical capabilities. That's why using lighter weights is so good – because everyone can do it no matter their age or experience.”
You can hear Hastings speak about this study on Metro Radio in the UK.
When it comes to the benefits of BODYPUMP building bone strength is just the tip of the iceberg. Using light to moderate weights with lots of repetition, BODYPUMP gives you a total body workout. A recent study has highlighted how BODYPUMP triggers far greater fat-burning and other healthy responses in the body than its calorie count reflects. Another study has shown that the varied tempos and high number of repetitions that feature in BODYPUMP make it a highly effective way to build strength and burn calories.