Healthy Aging: Wear weight vest for improved bone health
Healthy aging means managing risk factors of disease by embracing achievable and natural habits that create a long, healthy and fulfilling life. (1) As we age we lose bone density but there are choices one can make to improve bone health and even mitigate loss of bone tissue. One approach is to incorporate a weight vest in daily activities like chores, walking (2), running or aerobics which also improves balance, strength, coordination and can even reduce fall related injuries. Healthy aging includes plenty of physical activity including low intensity activities like weighted walking or weighted tai chi as well as high intensity activities like weighted running, hiking, strength training or weighted jumping exercises.
Weight vest use for osteoporosis
Weight bearing exercises and regular physical activity that includes strength training are proven to be a natural way of building and maintaining bone density. Research studies show a positive benefit that helps prevent and treat osteopenia and osteoporosis most common with aging. By participating in healthy activities, you improve bone density, build muscle, balance, and cognitive health as well.
A simple way to increase the intensity of your regular activities is to wear a weighted vest. A weight vest is a garment with built-in or adjustable weights. Ideally you want a weight vest for osteoporosis that is adjustable and has a design that can be worn over clothing or worn discreetly under shirts or outerwear during exercise, while doing errands or completing chores around the house.
Incorporating a weight vest with low or high intensity weight bearing activities or with muscle resistance training are a key part of maintaining and improving your bone health. After consulting with your medical professional, start building healthy exercise habits. (3) For example, during a squat or while walking, the extra stress that a weight vest puts on your muscles and skeleton encourages new bone cells to form. Bones are living tissue that respond to stress. While swimming and bicycling don’t directly build bone density, they do build stronger muscles which improves cardiovascular endurance, strength and overall balance and coordination. A 2017 research study of adults with osteoporosis proved that light exercise with a weighted vest significantly increased bone density within 6 weeks. (4) Light-load power training with a low number of repetitions can increase bone mineral density, reducing bone loss in individuals with osteopenia and at risk of osteoporosis (4) while consistent and long-term weighted exercise has been shown to prevent bone loss in the hips in postmenopausal women. (5)
A good place to start using your weight vest is puttering around the house or walking in your neighborhood. Walking with a weight vest stimulates bone synthesis, it can improve balance reducing the risk of falls. (6) Weight bearing exercise like walking with a weight vest triggers bone tissue production. A secondary step is to combine resistance training and high-impact or weight-bearing exercise protocols as they appear effective in preserving femoral neck and lumbar spine bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. (7)
Exercise Critical for Healthy Aging
Research shows that staying physically active is crucial to healthy aging and building bone density. In fact, exercise and physical activity are considered a cornerstone of almost every healthy aging program. (8) There are many ways to stay active, build bone density, or improve balance that can fit into your lifestyle. Scientific evidence suggests that people who exercise regularly not only live longer, they live better whether you are choosing high intensity, low intensity or muscle strength training. (9)
Weight Vest Activities
A weighted vest can be added to just about any exercise to help improve bone health, balance and overall strength which leads to less fall related injuries. Try incorporating a weight vest on your morning walks with your dog, gardening on a beautiful day, or while doing chores. As a rule of thumb with all new exercise routines or equipment the key is to start slowly and carefully and see how your body responds to the new stress. Be sure to check with your doctor to ensure there are no contraindications which preclude you from doing these exercises with or without a weight vest.
HIGH INTENSITY weight bearing exercises (10)
- High-impact aerobics
- Jumping Rope/jumping exercises
- Stair climbing
- Brisk/fast walking
LOW INTENSITY weight bearing exercises (10)
- puttering around the house
- tai chi
MUSCLE STRENGTHENING exercises (10)
- lifting weights
- body weight exercises/functional movements: Squats, front lunges, side lunges, calf raises, and toe raises
- using elastic exercise bands
- using body weight machines
Improve balance & cognitive health
Another element of healthy aging is moving your body for better brain and emotional health. Studies show Tai Chi is great for cognitive function. (11) But by adding a weight vest to Tai Chi sessions participants can also improve lower extremity leg strength which improves balance significantly and helps reduce falls which can result in bone fracture. (12) Regular Tai Chi exercise can also improve cognitive function, posture, flexibility and enhanced mood.
Choosing a weight vest
The Hyper Vest® FIT fully adjustable women’s weighted vest is ideal for building bone density due to its comfortable fit. The vest has a zipper making it easy to put on and take off. The elastic side lacing that can be tightened or loosened to desired fit. Weights are distributed for comfort for a women’s figure. They can be added or removed in ½ lb increments (up to 8 lbs) so you can scale the weight safely and slowly according to your activity or fitness level. Weights should be evenly distributed from front to back for balance and comfort. (13) The soft and comfortable stretch fabric can be worn under or above clothing or outerwear and is virtually unnoticed when worn under clothing due to its streamline fit. The Hyper Vest is washable once weights are removed. Reflective elements make this vest a safe choice for walking during low light or dark conditions.
Whether you are new to fitness or have been exercising for years incorporating healthy aging practices in your daily life will result in greater overall health. Hyperwear is the leader in functional fitness training so try a weight vest or SandBell® and see how fun healthy aging can be.