An enjoyable way to build stronger bones (and muscle!)

I have always encouraged you to choose your own path when it comes to which type of exercise you enjoy. That’s because exercise—of any kind—is critical to our health. 

Heck, don’t even call it exercise if you don’t want to… that stroll to the grocery store and back, those set of stairs that you climb, or even just walking your dog all work for me.  

The key is simply moving your body… and every little bit counts 

But occasionally, a study comes out that explores how particular types of exercise deliver powerful benefits against certain conditions.  

So, let’s see what the latest research has to say… 

A safer bone-building solution 

According to a new study, high-intensity resistance and impact training (HiRIT—in this case, a program called Onero) delivers more gains in bone density and leg and back strength than a low-intensity Pilates program.  

That’s the conclusion of the Medication and Exercise for Osteoporosis (MEDEX-OP) trial, at least. It featured 115 postmenopausal women, between the ages of 63 and 68 years, with low bone mass, all of whom attended 45-minute-long supervised workouts, twice a week, for eight months. 

In the end, HiRIT delivered more gains in bone mass, muscle strength, functional performance, and stature. The low-intensity Pilates program, meanwhile, still delivered benefits—just to a lesser extent. (But that’s an important finding to keep in mind: Both had an effect.)  

And that’s great news!  

Because—much to the chagrin of Big Pharma, I’m sure—good old-fashioned exercise was enough to increase functional capacity and slash the risk of falling and fractures. Those are benefits osteoporosis drugs can’t even deliver! (They can, however, raise your risk of atypical femur fractures and osteonecrosis of the jaw, among other concerning side effects.) 

Of course, it’s also important to note that 80 percent of the participants actually completed a high intensity workout for eight months, twice weekly. This just goes to show you that it really is all about consistency! 

A win-win situation 

Now, let’s take a closer look at what the women in this study actually did… 

The HiRIT training program included resistance training with free weights (deadlifts, back squats, and overhead presses). It also included one high-impact exercise (jump drops) and some balance exercises. The specific exercises varied with each session. The lower-intensity sessions, meanwhile, relied on Pilates-based mat exercises, exercises with very light free weights, and impact exercises (heel drops and stomping).  

(To get a better visual for any of these exercises, you can find demonstration videos online.) 

In other words, the women performed a wide range of different exercises that all lead directly to better outcomes for your bones and muscles than any popular osteoporosis drug can deliver. (Not to mention, they get you up and off that couch—which is also just plain beneficial to your body.) 

And remember, this study looked at an older population—and that should help reassure anyone who may be scared by the term “high-intensity”.  

So for the millionth time: Get up, move, and keep moving. 


“High-Intensity Exercise, Not Pilates, Builds Bone in Older Women.” Medscape Medical News, 10/15/2021. (