Weight-Bearing Exercises – A youth’s opinion

Weight-Bearing Exercises – A youth’s opinion

I used to think exercises involving weight-lifting were harmful to health. My mind associated weight-lifting with a weak and unstable musculoskeletal system in old age and a manifestation of trembling and nervous disorders. I saw activities and work that required load-bearing as unnecessary and avoidable. I tried as much as possible to avoid subjecting my bones and muscles (my arms especially) to any stress.

At home, periods of water scarcity were common in the dry season, thanks to the non-functional state water board and my family’s average income.  We had to get water from a commercial water well located a short distance from our home using twenty-five (25) litre jerry cans. My brother and I were tasked with supplying the whole house with water from the well, and it was a large house.  That was quite some work!

While my brother (who was younger than myself by six years) preferred to carry his jerry cans by his sides, one on each arm, I chose to carry mine on my head.  So I usually carried one container of water at a time. My point here is not focusing on productivity but the mindset that inspired my preference for carrying the jerry cans on my head – I felt it was an unnecessary strain on my bones and muscles. I didn’t want to use up my skeletal strength while I was young and then have a weak skeleton in old age, so I stuck to carrying the water on my head.

Today, I realize that not subjecting the bones and muscles to any strain at all was as bad as (if not worse than) placing them under too much stress/strain. I had missed a good opportunity to build my bones and muscles.

Am I praying that your water network become non-functional so you would have to carry jerry cans like my brother and I did? No. I am only saying that moderate weight-lifting exercises are necessary for bone health. Research has shown that moderate weight lifting exercises are necessary for bone development and hence bone health. Lack of adequate weightlifting exercises during childhood and adolescence could result to poor bone development.

It is known in Medical Science that the body builds bones at a particular stage of life (from childhood to late 20s) after which bone health depends on the quality of bone development achieved during that period. It is therefore necessary that young people adopt a lifestyle that would ensure optimum bone development. Consumption of foods rich in Vitamin D and Calcium; adequate weightlifting and other aerobic exercises; and adequate exposure to sunlight are all needful for good bone health.

Next time you have the opportunity to do some age-appropriate weight lifting, do it with joy. Weightlifting however must be moderate to avoid excess strain to the bones. Start your walk towards a healthier old age today. Take care of your bones.

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The Foundation For the Awareness of Osteoporosis aims to prevent Osteoporosis in Nigeria by deepening the awareness of this disease condition.

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