We work out with the intent of increasing the strength and size of our musculature. At that the same time that we are working on our muscles, our body is also thinking about our bone structure. Without a skeleton to provide support our muscles become practically useless. Our bicep cannot create flexion with out a joint and to structures with which to create flexion. Just like a crane is useless without a cable AND a boom, we are not able to create the movement we need without both parts. Luckily with all the time that we spend working on our muscles, our body is smart enough also strengthen our skeleton.
Wolff’s Law is the concept that our bones remodel themselves in response to the stress that is applied to them. This is similar to what was discussed in Davis’ Law. When we apply stress, our body adapts to prepare itself for continued or increased stress. When we lift weights, not only does the process induce muscle hypertrophy, it causes our bodies to utilize more calcium to reinforce the structure of the skeleton.
Doing squats once will not make you big boned. The repeated stress over a period of time produces the stimulus to increase our bone density. The skeletal tissue affected will vary according to the stress applied. One example is that depending on the years of experience, Tennis players will have 10-20% denser bone structure in their dominant arm as compared to their non-dominant arm. This adaptation allows our body to resist injury. The bones that we are using most will become stronger to better be able to apply force as well as resist potentially dangerous external forces.
Skeletal tissue does not atrophy as fast as soft tissues will. It takes longer to build up a bone, and similarly it takes longer for it to wear down. We do eventually reach a peak in our bone structure strength. As we get older and ravages of time will cause our skeletons to weaken. The good news is that the stronger we make ourselves at a younger age the longer it will take for out skeletons to degrade. The best cure for this loss of bone structure is continued physical activity. If you don’t use it, you lose it. There are so many processes going on in the body that the body will only support the ones that are being used.
The greatest take away from this is that regardless of your athletic endeavors, weight training can aid in health. By strengthening our bone structures wen we are young, and then continued weight training as we grow older helps our body to promote bone health. Especially against conditions such as Osteoporosis. Strong bones are happy bones!