Mind you, I feel that way about running too. So while I might have a bias in this post, at least I'm equally biased about both running and lifting weights.
And about parents.
My mother called me up on the telephone, and said the following: "I just got back from a visit to the doctor, and I'm afraid I have some bad news."
Gulp. "Okay, what's that?"
She said, sadly, "In another 20 years, you're going to have to worry about osteoporosis."
After I'd recovered my breath, I wanted to shake her.
20 years? Loads of time. I can take calcium, lift weights, buy a house that doesn't have steep steps. I mean, that's one of the benefits of having older relatives, to alert you to what's coming in your future. In each generation, we learn. My grandmother was terrified to walk down even a few steps due to a fear of falling and fracturing her fragile bones. My mother prepared by eating right and exercising, and so has only a much mild version of the disorder.
These days, there is such a proliferation of research on ways to maintain bone density that there's no excuse not to do what I can to strengthen my bones.
Much as I loathe exercise, it's top of the list. The good news is that there's a lot of research into how bone density is affected by different types of exercise.
The illustrious Dr. Mirkin quotes a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, March 2009, that finds sprint cyclists have denser bones than long distance cyclists, who in turn have denser bones than sedentary control subjects.
And another study finds that runners are even further along in the bone mineral density scale, even more so than weight lifters.
It always impresses Crabby when I put research into chart format, so here's my summary of these two studies. (Not done to scale.)
I wish the studies had gone into more detail about the comparisons between weight lifters and runners, or whether it made a difference what type of runner you are. But the comforting thought here is that as long as I get off the couch, I'm making progress.
And to be thorough, I thought I should include another chart:
I mean, are these studies really going to change your mind? You've already got a workout routine that you
Weight lifting photo courtesy JonTunn.