If your goal is to build stronger bones, to maximize results it will greatly help you to understand the role of muscles.
The muscular system handles a wide variety of fundamental tasks, including pumping blood, progressing food through our digestive system, plus it is involved in all of our physical movements.
Our muscles also stimulate the production of new bone material, making them the foundation of bone-building. Today you'll learn everything you need to know about muscles, including how to build more of them to strengthen your bones.
What Muscles Do
Muscle is a soft and elastic tissue made up of thousands of individual fibers. There are three major types of muscles and they function quite differently.
- Cardiac Muscle – As the name suggests, cardiac muscle is the muscle that comprises your heart. It's a very strong muscle that operates involuntarily, meaning you can't consciously control it. Cardiac muscle contracts the heart to pump blood throughout your cardiovascular system.
- Smooth Muscle – Smooth muscle lines your blood vessels and organs. Like cardiac muscle, it operates involuntarily. This type of muscle doesn't need to be very strong to do its job. It pushes food through the digestive system and maintains blood circulation through blood vessels.
- Skeletal Muscle – When we talk about our muscles, we are usually talking about our skeletal muscles. Unlike cardiac and smooth muscle, skeletal muscle is controlled consciously. As the name suggests, skeletal muscle is defined by its relationship to bones. Every skeletal muscle is attached to bone at two or more locations. When skeletal muscles contract they pull on our bones to create movement.
There are three types of muscle. Cardiac muscle is the muscle that comprises your heart and pumps your blood. Smooth muscle lines your digestive system and blood vessels. Skeletal muscle is the muscle that connects to your bones and makes it possible for you to move.
How Muscle Builds Bone
Wolff's Law established the basic fact that bone is a living tissue that changes in response to stress. When a bone is subjected to stress, it adds mass to better bear that load.
Let's say you lift a heavy bucket every day. You would correctly expect that the muscles you use to lift that bucket will grow stronger from the exertion of lifting it until it becomes easy to lift. Your muscles have adapted to the task.
But it isn't just your muscles that adapt. When you lift the bucket those muscles are placing stress on certain bones. Your bones have mechanosensitive cells that perceive mechanical stress and instruct your body to add more mass to the impacted bones.
That's why exercise is such an important part of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program— it literally builds bone. And the stronger your muscles are, the stronger your bones will be.
Multiple studies have confirmed the association between muscle strength, muscle mass, and osteoporosis. Men and women with stronger muscles and more muscle mass are less likely to get diagnosed with osteoporosis.1,2,3
Fortunately, it's possible to increase both your muscle mass and strength.
Bone is a living tissue that adapts to stress. When you use your muscles to move, lift, or carry weight, they place stress on your bones. When you do weight-bearing, strength-building exercises, your body builds both muscle and bone in response to the stress applied by the exercise. Studies have confirmed that people with stronger and larger muscles are less likely to be diagnosed with osteoporosis.
How To Build More Muscle (To Build More Bone)
If you want to build stronger bones, then you have to build stronger muscles. Through targeted strength-building exercises you can do both.
That doesn't necessarily mean lifting weights– you can do a complete strength-training workout using nothing but your own body weight. And other forms of exercise, like yoga, can also build muscle strength.
Here are three tips for maximizing the muscle-building potential of your workout sessions:
- Don't Skip The (Healthy) Carbs — You may have heard about low-carb diets as a way to lose weight. But carbohydrates are essential for both bone health and building muscle. In fact, studies have found that eating carbohydrates before endurance exercise can enhance performance.4 Choose sources of healthy carbs, like whole grains, legumes, and sweet potatoes.
- Get More Sleep — Your body recovers and repairs during sleep. When you do strength-building exercises, you're actually creating tiny tears in your muscle fibers. Your body repairs these tears by adding additional muscle. By getting plenty of sleep each night, you're giving your body a chance to build as much new muscle (and bone) as possible.
- Set Strength Goals — Goal-setting is a great way to stay motivated and continue making steady progress. You might set a goal to successfully do a certain number of repetitions, perform an exercise for a certain duration, or add a certain amount of weight. Make sure your goals provide a challenge but are within reach– and when you hit them, set new ones. Don't forget to celebrate hitting your strength-building goals– you deserve it!
By building more muscle, you can increase your capacity for building bone. Don't skip out on healthy carbs– they fuel your exercise and muscle growth. Get plenty of sleep– your body builds muscle and bone while you rest. Set strength-building goals that are challenging but attainable, and when you hit them celebrate your success and then set new ones.
What This Means To You
Make strength training part of your bone-building exercise plan. As the studies cited today show, muscle strength and mass are inversely correlated with osteoporosis. The stronger your muscles are, the stronger your bones will be.
An effective, sustainable exercise routine is so important to building bone that the Save Institute created an entire online video platform dedicated to attaining that goal. SaveTrainer has everything you need to find bone-strengthening workouts, and you can also build a personalized four-week fitness plan.
Our world-class trainers construct workouts that are customizable to any ability level– so no matter where you're starting, you'll be able to learn and grow at your own pace. SaveTrainer sets a new standard for at-home fitness designed for you– no matter your age, fitness level, or schedule.
With a large variety of workout classes, and with more added continually, SaveTrainer is the affordable way to get stronger, feel younger, and live a healthier life.