You’ve probably heard me say it before. Muscle and bone work as one single unit —when we build muscle, we build bone. When we lose muscle, we lose bone — and, more importantly, losing muscle and bone means a higher fracture risk. As we age, we naturally lose muscle, lots of it, right along with bone. But here at the Center for Better Bones we’ve had great success encouraging the maintenance and building of muscle strength the old fashioned way: through exercise and an alkaline diet.
I recently heard a major researcher declare that, “Muscle strength was the most important determinant of hip strength.” It’s great to hear that word is getting out about the muscle and bone link, but I have a prediction to make. My early 2011 prediction is that those like us who promote a natural approach to building muscle are going to have competition. Big Pharma may muscle in on us.
The major pharmaceutical companies have been busy developing drugs to interfere with the mechanisms of bone loss, but now may turn their efforts toward developing drugs to interfere with muscle loss. And what makes me think this? Well, I have to credit my insight to a couple of things I learned at the annual ASBMR (American Seminar for Bone and Mineral Research) meeting:
1. It appears that certain academic strength researchers may be moving to work directly for the pharmaceutical industry.
2. An ASBMR lecture I attended mentioned genetic manipulation of a muscle growth inhibitor pathway (myostatin) as one possible avenue for drug intervention.
Why exercise to maintain muscle and bone mass when you can just take a drug? I think most of you already know the answer to that. No drug could ever replicate the whole-body benefits of regular exercise. Aside from bone and muscle strengthening, exercise reduces stress, improves cardiovascular health, boosts brain function, and reduces cancer risk — just to name a few. People of the world stand up, bulk-up, pump that iron, don a weighted vest, and walk. We naturalists are not going to take this challenge sitting down!
For tips to get you started or keep you going, read my article on exercising for bone health.