In some cases, you can exercise ’til the cows come home (does anyone know where this expression came from? Really? ‘Til the cows come home?!) and you still get no improvement in your bone density. So is it all a huge waste of time? No. Especially not if your fracture rate was reduced 300% compared to your peers who didn’t exercise.
These are the results of a study by the Mayo Clinic. The 10-year follow-up of the initial study was done in 2002. Twelve years prior, the study began. Fifty post-menopausal Caucasian women were divided into two groups: an exercise group and a non-exercise group. The exercising group were given a spine extension exercise to perform 5 days a week for two years. The spine extension exercise performed by the exercising group is similar to the picture below. But instead of the weights being hand-held they were placed in a backpack over the upper back (between the shoulder blades). Progressively the weight was increased to 50 pounds. I know…. it does seem excessive but I am just reporting on what was performed in the study.
The results of the women performing this exercise were pretty remarkable. Exercisers increased their spine extensor strength 70%. The amazing thing? After 10 years of not performing this exercise, the exercisers lost only 16% of their strength. The non-exercisers? They lost 27% of their strength. Isn’t that amazing? That the exercisers were able to retain so much strength after they stopped. So many people tell me after they’ve been sick that they feel that they’ve lost everything they’ve been working on. How wrong could they possibly be? You might be sick for a week or even a month and that doens’t even remotely compare to not exercising for 10 years. And these women only lost 16% of their strength! Remarkable.