Bone & Muscle Health

Bone & Muscle Health Articles

Exercise can help you keep your bones strong

Resistance training exercises aren’t just good for your heart; they can also improve your bone health. While adult women may not be able to build new bone as rapidly as children do, activities such as jogging and resistance training can stimulate new growth that can prevent age-related bone loss and osteoporosis. (Locked) More »

Setting up a home gym

Regular strength training can help older men slow muscle loss and even increase muscle mass into their 90s. One challenge they face is finding the time and place to exercise. Joining a gym or enlisting a personal trainer can help maintain regular workouts, but for those who cannot make it to the gym or afford a trainer or gym fees, setting up a home gym is a great alternative. More »

Take that, muscle cramps!

 Image: © ChesiireCat/Getty Images A muscle cramp always feels like a surprise. The involuntary contraction strikes without warning, whether it's a charley horse in the middle of night or a back spasm as you reach for an everyday object. But don't let that cramp throw you for a loop. "When it suddenly strikes, don't exercise or tighten the muscle. Just gently stretch it to your tolerance. That helps to relax the muscle and relieve the uncontrolled contraction," says Madhuri Kale, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. Exercising without properly warming up the muscles can lead to cramps. Cramps also occur when a muscle is not able to relax properly (such as from a deficiency of magnesium or potassium in your diet) or when it becomes irritated by a buildup of lactic acid (which can happen if you don't rest your muscle after it has exercised a lot). Dehydration can worsen both of these problems. Kale says older adults often don't drink enough water at night because they want to avoid having to go the bathroom, and they end up dehydrated. More »

3 surprising risks of poor posture

America, we have a posture problem. Whether it's the result of sitting at a desk all day, looking down at a smartphone, or lounging on a couch, poor posture is dogging people of all ages. And health experts are worried. "It's a common and important health problem among Americans, and it can lead to neck pain, back problems, and other aggravating conditions," says Meghan Markowski, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. While back and neck conditions top the list of potential posture woes, there are many others — such as poor balance, headaches, and breathing difficulties. "Researchers are also looking into whether posture affects mood, sleep, fatigue, and jaw alignment," Markowski says. Three other problems linked to poor posture may surprise you. More »

Easy upper-body boosters

The loss of muscle mass begins in one’s 30s and accelerates after age 60. A loss of upper-body strength can make it more difficult to complete daily activities, and it may also increase the risk for muscle injury during an activity that involves reaching. A physical therapy program can help increase muscle mass in older age. A program typically involves gentle stretching to keep muscles supple, plus strengthening exercises like triceps curls, with low amounts of weight (just a few pounds) and a high number of repetitions. More »

Extra protein does not build more muscle

While it might seem natural to think that increasing protein intake could help improve muscle strength and performance, a new study confirmed that taking in more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance did not improve lean body mass, muscle performance, or physical function among older men. More »

Should I get a bone density test?

Bone density tests are not routinely recommended for older men as there is no strong evidence they can benefit from osteoporosis-preventing medications. Lifestyle changes involving smoking, exercise, and alcohol intake can have the biggest impact on bone health. More »

Think that hip pain is bursitis? Think again.

Side hip pain was often diagnosed as bursitis. In recent years, doctors have discovered that 90% of the time, side hip pain is more likely to be the result of other conditions, such as tendinitis; an irritated iliotibial band; tight, imbalanced muscles in the buttocks; or spine problems. Treatment for these conditions typically involves stretching and strengthening the muscles in the buttocks and hips, and strengthening the core muscles. Restoring balance to the muscles helps the body function better and eliminate pain. (Locked) More »