Bones and skin share the same protein called type 1 Collagen. It is the building block of bone and skin tissue, which is lost with age and accelerated with the menopause. This puts us at a greater risk of developing Osteoporosis as a result of weakened bones.
When I suffered a compression fracture to my T5, I was sent for a bone density scan to see if I had developed Osteoporosis. I was considered a bit young for the assessment, but as the type of fracture was commonly sustained as a result of sudden impact (i.e. car crash) they needed to investigate. (Turns out my bones were ok).
I’ve been for all sorts of scans and x-rays and instead of getting upset about it, I have looked upon them as a thorough midlife health check! While the mystery remains about the fracture, it has only served to re-inforced my respect and desire for a good level of health and fitness.
However, is there a type of exercise that is an absolute ‘star’ when it comes to improving bone density, skin health and general well-being in midlife and beyond.
Well, it turns out there is, research suggests that resistance training such as lifting weights, using bands and body weight can greatly benefit us.
Interestingly, part of my rehab program includes introducing very light resistance training exercises to help reduce pain in my body. So, I done some further research to discover 5 more amazing benefits of a strength based exercise program.
Besides feeling exhausted, ratty and foggy headed after a restless night of hot flushes, research released by *Benson for Beds suggests that a lack of sleep can cause premature signs of ageing, permanent discolouration of the skin and loss of self-esteem.
According to *Men's Health’s 'the Big Book of Exercises' it seems we can all get to sleep better, if we lift weights. Their research proved that people who performed 3 resistance training workouts per week experienced a 23 percent improvement in sleep quality.
2.Prevent Premature Ageing
A body that ages faster than our actual age can bring on a host of health issues.
It's been shown that people who performed just three resistance training workouts a week for 6 months experienced less oxidative stress than people who didn't lift weights. This is important because cell damage causes premature ageing of the skin and can lead to other health issues.
3. Improve Skin & Muscle Tone
Even if we stay in a healthy weight zone, we could still lose 3lbs of muscle and add 3 lbs of fat every decade. Also, one pound of fat takes up 18% more space on our body than 1 pound of muscle. So regular workouts can help improve muscle tone and help slow down loosening of the skin and a middle age spread.
4. Can Help Boost Skin's Youthful Appearance
While wrinkles can be a natural part of the aging process, new research suggests that if you are a woman in your 40s or 50s with significant skin wrinkling, then you could have lower bone density.
The scientists found that women with worse skin wrinkling had lower bone density than women with smoother skin—faces and necks—with firmer skin in those areas associated with greater bone density. Interestingly, this relationship between wrinkles and bone density was consistent in all of the bones tested.
While more studies need to be conducted, the correlation does make sense as bones and skin have the same type 1 collagen in common.
Good news is that resistance training can increase the production of our growth hormone. This handy hormone is produced by the pituitary gland in our brain, and some studies show that it can aid cell repair and influence the fibroblast cells to create more collagen (collagen is what keeps your bones strong and skin toned and supple).
These types of changes don't occur over night, but if you were to start a regular exercise program that included resistance training you could be noticing changes to your skin's appearance in as little as 3-6 months.
It is strongly advisable to consult with your GP before starting an exercise plan.
Aging doesn't have to be a fight, but it should not be a struggle. We can give ourselves permission to embrace our age and be able to enjoy the process. Resistance training has many benefits that can help us do just that.
*See Daily Telegraph - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/fitness/why-lifting-is-the-new-running-for-the-over-40s/
*Benson Beds see http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/style/578071/Jodie-Kidd-sleep-study-ageing-skin-lines-wrinkles-bags
*Men's Health 'the Big Book of Exercises - see Amazon for full details
Bone Density and Skin health https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110604181911.htm
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