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June 29, 2011


Ken Leebow


For what it's worth, at age 47, my orthopedic doc told me that I had the back of an 85-year-old - Degenerative Disk Disease. It's actually not a disease. As we age, everyone's disk degenerates.

Since I'm very active, I decided to take action.

1. Bought a new bed (Tempurpedic) ... Amazing bed
2. At Relax the Back (store), I bought a new desk chair ... made a huge difference
3. Started weight training ... of all my exercise routines, it's my favorite

I recommend to all to view this video by Christina Economos (she's with Tufts University)- titled Nutrition and Physical Activity for a Lifetime. It's at my website:

If that video does not convince you to weight train, nothing will.

Now at age 56, I'm in better shape than I was in my 20s. No drugs, no surgery ... just lifestyle changes!

As Dr. James O. Hill states: "Exercise is better than any drug or anything else we have for aging. There's no downside. If this were a drug, it would be the safest, most effective drug in the universe."

For a great laugh about Big Pharma, watch Bill Maher's rant ...

Good health to all,

Ken Leebow

P.S. Since many females are diagnosed with "osteopenia", this is an excellent report from NPR about this non-disease -

Donna Cash

Here's my bone-strengthening advice: when you walk, wear a weighted vest. I have a 25 lb. and a 10. lb. This makes walking a real workout and puts weight evenly on the shoulders, spine, hips, and legs. Ditch the gym equipment workouts and use free weights - you get much better muscle involvement to mimic real-life movement. Buy and learn how to use kettlebells ! Kettlebell movements are very dynamic and focus more on the hips, spine and core and you'll see stamina and strength increases in no its way fun !


Thank you for an excellent article.

I have watched the video before and think the exercises are fantastic. One thing people need to know is that they should firm up their abdominal muscles before they do each exercise. An easy way to do this is to cough. When you cough, you can feel your abdominal muscles tighen up. This move makes the exercises much more productive. Of course, you should keep the abdominal muscles firm for the whole exercise.

Thanks again for sending me this.


I'm working on this now myself - I have all the same risk factors you have in addition to some tricep problems that are beyond belief.

Anyway, I started taking a "pump" class at a local gym - I think it's a good strength building workout although we do crunches at the end and maybe I'll avoid those now according to this woman.

The problem is I'm only going once a week and I need to workout at home between classes. I think what I need is a video because I need to concentrate on a visual of good form all the time or I'll stray.

If you hear of any good weight-training videos where you just need some hand weights or the bar bell (we use the long bar bells - love those), please pass it along.

You go, girl!

Julie Kennedy

After being diagnosed as osteopenic at the age of 42 and being offered biophosphonates (Which I refused), I read The Myth of Osteoporosis by Gillian Sanson. Ms. Sanson refutes the theory that bone density alone equals fracture risk. The book is very well researched and referenced. I would recommend it to anyone as a counterbalance to all the bone density propaganda.


Wow. You just go from strength to strength. What a wonderful post. No time right now, but I'm going to go back and go through all the links later - I've been developing a home program in the last few weeks, and I'm sure there will be some new exercises to add or swap with what I have. My 90 year old mum has suffered with many of these things - stress fractures, spinal fractures, a cataclysmic femur I've seen first hand the misery it causes. She played tennis till she was 78, but now refuses to work at exercise, believing that there's no point, because she's "too old". So thank you for the extra ammunition!


YAY!!! Great info --I don't have to do crunches anymore!! YAY!.. And thanks for the post about alternatives. I missed that post somehow in the past.

Have you met Ernestine Shepherd? She's a great role model too!



I started using kettlebells about two years ago. I'm turning 60 in a month, and have been active all my life, but kettlebells have made me even stronger. They're assymetrical weights that look like bowling balls with a handle. It takes a lot for me to sweat, but kettlebells will do it. By using them I get a strength workout along with cardio. Recommended!

Linda P.

A couple of decades ago, my then-teen daughter, a competitive gymnast, was diagnosed with Scheuermann's disease. It causes true hunchback, not a curving like scoliosis. Hers was far progressed at diagnosis since doctors had thought her pain was due to injuries, pleurisy and a variety of disorders. She was put in a full Milwaukee brace from her chin to the tops of her thighs. We were counseled that, because her curvature was progressing, she would probably need surgery. One orthopedic doctor said she would never do gymnastics again, and a second said she might be able to compete again after she was out of the brace. The third said that gymnastics was the best bone-building exercise that existed, since the full body's weight was absorbed when she landed after a tumbling run or when she lifted herself over a bar or flung herself into the air. He wanted her to continue because it was a high-impact sport. She wore that full Milwaukee brace to sleep, eat, go to school, and go on her first date, but it came off for her gymnastics classes, six days a week, and for her quick showers. She avoided surgery, but at meets we certainly got a few worried moms and dads coming over to us after they'd seen her show up in that scary-looking full Milwaukee brace, wanting to know if she'd been injured in gymnastics. Since both my grandmothers broke their hips, I've remembered that orthopedic doctor's advice. I'm certainly not going to be performing gymnastics! However, I include some level of impact--jogging, for example--in my exercise repertoire. Recently, I've been struck by an autoimmune disorder that has robbed me of the strength to jog, but I still walk as much as I'm able, too, along with the other forms of exercise such as weight training.

Steven Rice Fitness

Bravo for your commitment to weight training and consulting with a professional. There's a big first step for most people to get some equipment and start doing some lifts, but there is an almost equally important need to learn to do the exercises correctly. The next challenge, I have to inform you, is the need to continue to physically challenge yourself with heavier weights and a variety of exercises. Unfortunately 2 visits from a trainer may not suffice for this. Some people will go for years with the same routine and after the first month or two never see any improvement. Fitness is a life long process.

I have an 83 year old client, and I just keep making things harder, and he just keeps on meeting the challenge.

The Healthy Librarian


No worries! I've been listening to your advice. It was just 2 visits to get started--then regular follow-ups to switch the routines & up the weights so I continually improve & don't plateau--every 6 weeks or so. You are 100% right--I'm ready to stop doing my same-old-same-old stuff!

To everyone: I really appreciate the time you all took to share your experiences & wealth of knowledge re weight-training & bone/muscle strength! Very helpful!!! I've learned a lot from all of your comments--and from those who wrote off-the-blog.

Busy, busy week--so no time to respond individually! Apologies.

Did you all follow that link from Carla--to Ernestine Shepherd? OMG--do it & get inspired! Here it is:

Off for the 4th of July weekend--and pretty booked through the following week--have lots of recipes & health updates to share--so stay tuned.

Happy 4th of July everyone.

I'm packing my suitcase with Match Meat to grill burgers, plus Alvarado Street Sprouted Burger buns, some Italian Field Roast Sausage, just in case--& 2 cook books to experiment with!


I just love this post! I stumbled on an article about Sandy about a month ago, just after my latest bad DEXA, and it did all kinds of things to boost my moral. I know this on all kinds of levels with every fiber of my being: unless there's some secondary cause for your bone loss, there's no reason why a fitness program shouldn't be able to reverse it. I had great results with the Yoga vs. Osteoporosis program in my first year, but the second year it wasn't enough. More than likely because I am in the throes of menopause right now. I have a "tree" full of weights ranging from 5 lbs to 30 lbs, I just have to use them. But I second the recommendation for a weight vest. I have one that goes up to 30 lb. I do my squats and lunges with that. When I peaked and it was time to up the load, I added two 2 lb dumbbells. If/when I peak on that, I'll move to the vest + two 5 lb dumbbells. The key really is to keep switching up your routine.

My other weight vest is 10 pounds and a little less obvious. I wear that on hikes and walks and even do yoga in it. It has really changed my workout. It has the added benefit of not feeling or really looking like a weight vest.

Bravo for being smart and getting someone to help you design a program. Good luck with it!


Wendy, check out . They have a huge assortment of fitness videos, include descriptions and fitness level (beginner, intermediate, advanced), and have clips of each.



As grains are acidic and we are supposed to be keeping our blood as alkaline as possible - I am wondering whether I should I cut back (or even cut out) grains?

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