EMS Personal Training for Osteopenia

Osteoporosis, Osteopenia & EMS Fitness

Osteoporosis and osteopenia are both conditions related to bone health, but they differ in terms of severity and degree of bone loss.

Osteopenia is a condition in which bone density is lower than normal but not low enough to be considered osteoporosis. It can be seen as a precursor to osteoporosis, which it can progress to if left untreated. 

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become brittle and weak, leading to an increased risk of fractures.

Both osteopenia and osteoporosis are more common in women, particularly in women during and after menopause, but they can also occur in men and younger women. Some of the factors that can contribute to the development of these conditions include genetics, age, hormonal imbalances, and lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. Exercise has been shown to help build and maintain bone density, particularly when combined with other lifestyle interventions such as a healthy diet and adequate vitamin D and calcium intake.

Exercise can be an effective way to prevent or manage osteopenia and osteoporosis. Exercise helps to strengthen bones and can reduce the risk of fractures. The specific types of exercise that are most effective for bone health are weight-bearing exercises and resistance training.

Weight-bearing exercises are physical activities that require the body to work against gravity while standing upright, thus bearing weight on the bones. These types of exercises are particularly beneficial for building and maintaining bone density, as the weight and impact of the body on the bones stimulates bone growth and remodeling.

Examples of weight-bearing exercises include: Walking, Running, Hiking, Dancing, Jumping jacks, Stair climbing, Tennis, Basketball, Soccer, and High-impact aerobics

Common activities that are not weight-bearing are swimming or cycling since there is no stress on the skeletal system.

It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of weight-bearing exercises to prevent injury and allow the body to adapt.

Resistance training, such as weightlifting, also helps to build bone density by putting stress on the bones and causing them to adapt and become stronger over time.

The goal of weight-bearing exercises and resistance training is to stimulate osteogenesis (bone remodeling). Osteogenesis is a positive effect, not to be confused with the disease osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). 

EMS Workouts

In a research paper by the University of Pau in France (very close to where I grew up in the Basque Country!) the author, Thierry Paillard, explains that walking or running are only effective in preventing osteopenia and osteoporosis if the intensities are very high. Paillard also adds that resistance training is only effective in stimulating osteogenesis with relatively heavy loads. 

The paper goes on to compare NMES (neuromuscular electrical stimulation) which is usually done in physical therapy settings with involuntary and voluntary muscle contractions. 

The conclusion was that the combination of voluntary muscle contraction and electrical stimulation showed very promising results as it generated all the necessary regulators to produce osteogenesis. Electrical stimulation also downregulated all the hormones responsible for bone loss. As with many research papers, more studies are needed to explore these findings. 

Paillard points out that in order to stimulate bone mineral density the electrical stimulation needs to be higher than 50 Hz and combined with muscle activity. In all of our programs, we use stimulation closer to 85 Hz synchronized with exercises covering all the bases to help prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Weight-bearing exercises at high intensity, resistance training with heavy loads, and EMS Fitness are particularly important for individuals with osteopenia or osteoporosis, as they can help to improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. 

In addition to improving bone health, exercising with an EMS personal trainer can also help with progressing slowly to allow your joints to adapt, and improve balance, coordination, and strength, which can help to reduce the risk of falls and prevent injuries.

Related articles: 

EMS Fitness is joint-friendly and low impact

Active aging and EMS workouts

EMS fitness and working out with injuries

Menopause and electrical muscle stimulation

If you are interested in learning if EMS fitness would be a good option for you, click here to get started.


Director of Education and Technology