Postmenopausal Women Should Jump for Bone Health

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Jumping Sequence

This is integrated after six months of training or after achieving a certain level of training adaptation. After an introductory rope-skipping phase, more complicated jumps can be attempted.


Strength Training Sequence

This is two sessions: one using resistance machines and the using other isometric exercises, elastic belts, dumbbells and weighted vests. Increase exercise intensity slowly. In the first three months, do two sets of 20 reps at 50 percent of the one-repetition maximum (1RM). The 1RM is the maximum mass of a free weight or other resistance that can be moved by a muscle group through the full range of motion with good form one time only. After three months, do two sets of 15 reps at 60 percent of 1RM; after five months, do two sets of 15 reps at 65 percent of 1RM. After seven months, the intensity should be increased to 70 percent to 80 percent of 1RM.


The second strength-training session consists of 12 to 15 different isometric exercises, predominantly dedicated to the trunk and legs. Additionally, three different belt exercises of 15 to 20 reps are applied to the upper trunk. After the first seven months, belt training is replaced by exercises using dumbbells and a weighted vest.


Flexibility Training Sequence

This sequence is performed before and after the strength-training sessions and during rest periods. The stretching program consists of 10 exercises for all main muscle groups and two sets of passive stretching exercises lasting over 30 seconds.


Additional Home-Training Sessions

Isometric, belt and stretching exercises should be performed at home twice weekly for 25 minutes. An additional rope-skipping program can be introduced 20 weeks after the start of the training program.  

POSTMENOPAUSAL WOMEN SHOULD JUMP FOR BONE HEALTH

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

knee pain and/or osteoarthritis (OA). Knee OA affects about 13 percent of women aged 60 years and older. “Progressively implemented high-impact and intensive exercises created enough stimuli and had favorable effects (on both) patellar cartilage quality and physical function in postmenopausal women with mild knee OA,” said researchers who published their findings in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in 2015.


Besides maintaining bone strength, the main goal of exercise is to increase muscle mass to improve muscle function for balance and strength. This exercise program works well for women ages 48 to 60 years with low bone mass. It consists of four sessions per week, two lasting 60 to 70 minutes each and two home training sessions 25 minutes a week.


Warm Up/Endurance Sequence

For the first three months or so, gradually increase walking and running to 20 minutes to prepare for higher impact rates. After this period, 10 minutes of low- to high-impact aerobic exercise with an increasing amount of high-impact aerobic exercise can conclude the sequence.  

During the first five to seven years after menopause, women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone density. This increases the risk for osteoporosis, falls, fractures and broken bones. But these risks can be prevented by taking care of your bones through middle age and beyond. This includes taking vitamin D, cutting back on caffeine, not smoking and exercising, especially doing high-impact exercises such as jumping, skipping, running and skiing.


“Higher-impact activities are likely to be most effective at preserving bone,” said Jon Tobias, professor of rheumatology at the University of Bristol. “It’s also the best way to build bone because the stress of landing with force encourages bones to add more mass.”


Jumping a few times is better for bones than running a few miles. “The constant, repeated stress of running desensitizes bone so that it doesn’t react as much,” said Larry Tucker, Ph.D., professor of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University. “Jumping with at least 30 seconds between jumps allows bone to become stressed without becoming desensitized.” Tucker and his colleagues proved this in a study that showed groups that performed 10 to 20 jumps twice daily improved their bone density by .5 percent after four months. A group that did not jump actually lost about 1.3 percent of their bone density.


Jumping and other high-impact exercises are safe for those with