I always feel so much better when I exercise. I have more energy, my mood improves, and I feel younger, too. And of course, I know I’m increasing my bone density at the same time.

But now there’s fascinating research that sheds light on just why exercise makes us feel so much better, and how important it is not only for bone density, but for quality and length of life.

The research points to three key benefits of exercise in addition to bone rejuvenation, and I’ve shared them below.

1. Study: More Muscle Mass Can Prolong Your Life

One of the effects of exercise is increased muscle mass. Yet amazingly, a new study shows a connection between muscles and longevity.

Researchers at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) scrutinized data gathered between 1988 and 1994, particularly a survey conducted on 3,659 men age 55 and older and women 65 and older. A follow-up survey in 2004 showed which of the participants died from natural causes, and what researchers found was surprising.

Those individuals with greater muscle mass had a much lower rate of all-cause mortality, indicating that an increase in muscles lowers the risk of death.1

Bear in mind that these were not muscle-bound individuals; the increase in muscle mass was observed using electric current, because it was not obvious from the individuals’ appearance. So when you exercise regularly, you can rest assured that you’re building muscle mass, even if you don’t look more muscular.

2. Exercise Gives Your Brain And Your Mood A Boost

I don’t know about you, but when my mind is sharp I feel exponentially younger. The same can be said for feeling happy – it helps recapture that “carefree” feeling from youth. And now it’s scientifically proven that exercise helps these cognitive issues.

  • Depression: While it’s been known for some time that exercise helps depression, collaborative research from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Cooper Institute in Dallas has revealed some specific information about the quantity and type of exercise that is most effective at relieving depression.

    Adults who engaged in moderately intense aerobic exercise 3 to 5 times a week experienced an almost 50% reduction in depressive symptoms. There were four other groups of study participants whose exercise levels ranged from lower-intensity aerobics 5 or 3 times a week, to those who simply did 15 to 20 minutes of stretching 3 days a week. The reduction in depression was correlative with the amount of exercise, with the stretching group experiencing a 27% reduction in symptoms.2

    Depression has been linked to low bone density, so alleviating it is crucial for regaining youthful bones.

  • Stress Reduction: Exercising regularly also reduces levels of bone-depleting cortisol, the human stress hormone. Reducing stress not only makes for healthier, younger bones, but it also relieves the feelings of overwhelm associated with chronic stress.
  • Improves Memory: Here’s where I feel the most youthful – when my memory is sharp!
  • As we age, an area of the brain called the hippocampus begins to shrink, setting the stage for impaired memory. But here’s wonderful news: researchers found that regular exercise actually increased the size of the hippocampus in 120 older adult participants, and corresponding improvements in memory were observed.3

You’ll notice a recurring theme here – regularity and consistency. Results come with regular exercise practiced on a consistent basis.

I’ve found this concept to be applicable to the Osteoporosis Reversal Program and as well. Of course, no one is ever 100% consistent; life happens, and sometimes you’re not able to follow the Program perfectly all the time. But if you do the best you can and follow the Program most of the time (and get back on it again if you “fall off” temporarily), then you, too, can enjoy younger bones and a happier outlook.

3. Exercise Corrects Life-Shortening Dowager’s Hump (Kyphosis)

It came as a bit of a shock to me when I realized that kyphosis is not just unsightly and bad for your bones – it also decreases your quality and duration of life.

In a media statement from March 2014, the United Chiropractic Association (UCA) declared that poor posture is as significant a threat to your health as obesity, pointing out the link between kyphosis and cardiovascular disease. In fact, according to the UCA, elderly people with kyphosis actually have a 1.44 greater risk of mortality than those with correct posture.4

Researchers focused on kyphosis brought on by texting, but regardless of the cause, the bottom line is that being hunchbacked – and its precursor, Forward Head Posture – carry significant health risks.

UCA executive director Estelle Zauner-Maughan notes that

…when someone drops their head forward and rounds their shoulders, it becomes impossible for them to take a full breath in because of the restriction through the muscles and because the ribs can’t move properly, so the heart and lungs can’t function to their full effectiveness.”4

The good news is, kyphosis is correctable with exercise, so you don’t have to worry about it robbing you of youthful bones.

Science shows us once again that the benefits of exercise go well beyond building bone density. So when you engage in bone-building, consistent exercise, you’re helping your whole body.

I have always believed that true health involves the whole person. And the above research shows that exercise does just that, incorporating every body system to build and shape a younger you.

I had the whole person in mind when I created the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System as a companion to the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Although the “densercises” are designed to improve bone density and posture, science proves that when you Densercise™, you’re doing more than just building bone. You’re reversing the aging process!

Till next time,

References

1 Preethi Srikanthan, Arun S. Karlamangla. “Muscle Mass Index as a Predictor of Longevity in Older-Adults.” The American Journal of Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2014.02.007

2 Dunn, Andrea L., et al. “Exercise treatment for depression.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine. January 2005. Vol 28, issue 1, pgs 1-8. Web. http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797%2804%2900241-7/fulltext

3 Erickson, Kirk I., et al. “Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. January 31, 2011, doi: 10.1073. Web. http://www.pnas.org/content/108/7/3017.abstract

4 United Chiropractic Association. “Warning that bad Posture caused by mobile device use could shorten your life.” March 2014. Web. PDF

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  1. Annabelle

    Thank you so much for keeping me on track.

  2. marie helene leger

    SINCE 3 hears, having herniated disks, mild stenosis, degenerative disks disease and osteosporosis, what is the best exercise that can bring relief to this chronic and severe pain in lumbar and anal. i have seen 3 neurologists, 2 pain management, done 5 MRI, therapies, chiropractic decompression, accupuncture, 3 epidural and 2 nerve blocks nothing seem to work and I am in terrible pain from AM to PM non stop. I am 73 yera old and I seeing myself being discouraged and depressed because I became non sociable person with lots of pain taking all kind of medications to count oxicodone. etc…. . PLEASE HELP. thanks much. MH

  3. Dr. Yogender Sharma

    Thanks Vivian for your very informative write-ups and suggestions.
    I am writing to you as a layman though I am a Medical Doctor.
    I am 68 but relatively active .
    I often wonder that for an old person what are the best 5 minute simple exercises to remain healthy and fit to avoid the fractures and happy.
    Dr. Yogender Sharma

  4. Andrea

    Hi Vivian and everyone,

    How nice it is of Vivian to go to the expense and trouble to provide this lovely Website for all of us. Through this Website, we can connect, share, and learn.

    I do thank you very kindly, Vivian

    Best wishes to all,
    Andrea

  5. Carol

    Is the video for Forward Head Posture downloadable since iMac doesn’t have DVD because many companies are using download methods?

    Does Forward Head Posture have closed captions or transcript for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing viewers. It would be wasted of money if the video is not designed for the Deaf and Hard Viewers.

    Thank you for your attention and understanding.

    • Customer Support

      Carol, please contact Dr. Natalie Cordova for questions about her DVD, Posture Confidence. 🙂 You can reach their customer service at this link:

      http://www.postureconfidence.com/contact/

      • Carol

        I did but they weren’t interested in helping me at all, not even answering to my few questions in my second email sent to Natalie. I am not willing to pay at full price just for eBook only. It is a kind of discrimination against disability.

  6. Marlene Villar

    Good morning Vivian,
    Thank you very much for this excellent reminder. I’m
    learning that consistent exercise enables us to maintain
    a more positive outlook and increase our productivity
    and mental acuity, thanks to the release not only adrenalin
    but also endorphins and enkephalins that are natural mood- lifters, according to research. I believe that exercise helps in the sense that the better our physical
    condition, the better prepared we are to withstand
    anxiety. Vivian, you continue to bring encouragement
    to me personally, and you keep me learning on
    different topics , especially NUTRITION.
    Take care always and have a wonderful day .
    Marlene

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Marlene, thank you for sharing your insights! There are so many good reasons to exercise, and as you illustrated, every individual finds his or her own motivations and benefits. 🙂

  7. Dorothy

    Having osteoporosis can exercise improve your posture at the age of 85. I have a problem getting up and down the steps.

    Thank you for all you do in saving our bones.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Dorothy, I am a firm believer that exercise is beneficial for all ages! 🙂

  8. alejandro

    Hi, Does anyone know if grinding eggshells from free range chickens cound be used as a food source for providing calcium for the bones? . In addition I understand the inner layer of the Shell is also a food source beneficial in various ways to the human body.
    Does anybody have any information on this?
    TIA
    Alejandro

  9. Jane Woolmer

    My family have a very poor record on posture and osteoporosis, seen in my grandmother, mother, myself and now my children. However my grandmother lived to be 98! She was stooped and ultimately became a little confused; she kept a magnificient garden and the only drugs found in her house were paracetemol. Can’t be bad.

  10. lynette mayo

    Hi:
    I’m puzzled about what Bone Marrow Edema means? I have OA. My concern is that my traditional doctor who knows nothing alternative? told me its nothing to worry about. But, it has been on my last 6 MRI”s, now l’m becoming concerned? I checked all the sites online, but still cannot find any answers that satisfy me.

    Thanks,
    Lynette Mayo

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