While exercise is good for the body, certain types may cause severe injuries and in some cases lead to bone weakness. Chances are you don’t know the mistakes to avoid during your exercise routine and the effects they have on your bones.
Proteins in the blood that affect bone mineral loss and new bone formation ebb and flow when we exercise.
We all know that exercise is good for the body on so many levels. On a grand scale, it’s among the fundamentals of promoting health longevity.
With so many benefits inherent in exercise, including increased happiness levels, reduced risk of heart disease, better sleep, higher energy levels, increased strength and flexibility, improved memory, a boost in self-confidence, and better work performance, the big question is how could exercise be working against your health?
For one, failing to take the recommended breathers to give your body time to recover is one thing that may weaken your bones.
It is well known that exercise helps to increase bone mineral density, leading to stronger bones, but a new study from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada suggests that extended, high-intensity training sessions of elite athletes could actually reverse such benefits.
A team of researchers from Brock University in Canada, who presented their findings at the American Physiological Society (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology in Chicago, monitored changes in osteoprotegerin (OPG, a protein that hinders bone mineral loss) and sclerostin (SOST, a protein that obstructs new bone formation) levels in female rowers training for the 2016 Olympic Games.
The researchers discovered that by measuring the athletes’ blood samples, SOST levels fluctuated, with the highest levels spiking during the most intense training, and the lowest during the least intense.
Lead author of the study, Nigel Kurgan, and his supervisor, Dr. Panagiota Klentrou, who is a professor in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University stated that they did not measure the response during or immediately post-exercise, but however, found in their results that multiple intense workouts over an extended period of time—two to three weeks—without adequate recovery periods can lead to a continual increase in inflammation, which can interfere with bone rebuilding.
Though dual X-ray absorptiometry imaging used before and after the trial period revealed no change in bone mineral density, the researchers believe the significant changes in OPG and SOST expression during heavy training may be enough to show the risks of not allowing for proper recovery time between intense training workouts.
Without recovery, both OPG and SOST remained chronically elevated over extended periods of time.
The researchers stated that if these levels are chronically elevated, they could lead to a decrease in bone mineral density, thus decreasing bone strength and increasing the risk of stress fracture.
The researchers also noted that such circumstances can only become worse for athletes who are also eating less to try to manage their weight, since this deprives their bodies of essential nutrients, which the body needs in order to rebuild after rigorous training.
Regarding how long people in general should take to recover after an intense workout, the researchers note that it’s different for each individual, so it’s best to listen to your body.
It should be noted as well that recovery does not always mean days off, but lower volume or intensity, or a combination of the two.
The study concluded that people need to balance intensity and volume in their workout programs.
By planning your weeks ahead and know that following one to two weeks of high volume, high intensity workouts, you give yourself at least one week where you are training at a lower volume and lower intensity to ensure you are giving your body (not just bones) time to adapt.
Asides having a stronger skeleton, your body will come back stronger for your next high intensity tracking cycle.