Workout Wednesday

How do I feel like getting my fitness on today?

Power through a weight-bearing exercise!

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Here’s the science behind it:

A combination of weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing exercises can be effective training to increase enjoyment, decrease burnout, and prevent injury. Non-weight-bearing exercises, such as cycling, reduce the impact on the body’s (lower extremity) joints and can be recommended for individuals with arthritis or knee injuries. However, this type of exercise does not increase bone density. By the age of 70, postmenopausal white women are expected to lose an average of 30% of bone mass (T. West, personal communications, January 2019). Thereby, it is critical for the younger female population to engage in weight-bearing activities, such as Pilates, walking, running, or hiking on multiple days each week to decrease bone loss and prevent osteoporosis. Bone loss is inevitable, however this loss occurs more slowly with active individuals who regularly perform weight-bearing exercises.

The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for the adult population is at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (500 hours) per week of moderate intensity exercise, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) per week of high intensity exercise, or a combination of both (CDC, 2018). These weekly exercise guidelines need to include weight-bearing activities. Clinical Pilates Exercises can increase bone mineral density (BMD) in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis (Angin, Erden, and Can, 2015). Angin, Erden, and Can (2015) also found quality of life (QOL) and walking distance to alleviate pain in their female sample. Boyer, Kiratli, Andriacchi, and Beapre (2011) examined walking and femoral bone mineral density (BMD) in healthy individuals. They concluded that their female cohort needs 4,892 steps/day at 1.00 m/s to maintain BMD. Females who are 20% lighter in body weight (than the females in the study) need 10,000 steps/day at 1.32 m/s to preserve BMD.

In conclusion, women, as well as men, need to perform a variety of weight-bearing exercises each week to decrease bone loss and prevent osteoporosis. Weight-bearing activity does not need to only consist of walking. Individuals may also perform strength-based exercises, such as Pilates, or increase the intensity to a steep hike, or a fast run. Practicing a cross-section of weight-bearing exercises will promote enjoyment and prevent burnout, thereby establishing a consistent exercise routine.






Angin, E., Erden, Z., & Can, F. (2015). The effects of clinical pilates exercises on bone mineral density, physical performance and quality of life of women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. Journal of Back Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, 28(4), 849-858. doi: 10.3233/BMR-150604

Boyer, K.A., Kiratli, J.B., Andriacchi, T.P., & Beaupre, G.S. (2011). Maintaining femoral bone density in adults: How many steps per day are enough. Osteoporosis International, 22(12), 2981-2988. doi: 10.1007/s00198-011-1538-9

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Active adults. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nded., p. 56. Retrieved from

West, T. Structure and function of the skeletal system. [PDF document]. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Website:

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