Tough to the Bone

I knew there's something special about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The scrappy 80 year old woman is not only a brilliant lawyer, she's also a TOJ.

Recently she fell in the bathroom, cracking her ribs. A two time cancer survivor, in the days following this injury, she didn't miss any of her demanding duties as a justice. Not only that, she got right back to the gym to lift weights to keep her small bones strong. No wonder the wimpy Justice Alioto is so afraid of her.

This TOJ may have been hit in the head too many times to be able learn much from her about how to be so mentally sharp at her age, but she's got a lesson to teach on bone health.

Like everything else in our bodies, bones are mind-blowing in their elegance and complexity. As we age, they gradually lose strength and flexibility, especially if we don't use them because we spend our time plopped on a chair watching TV or a computer screen.

While subtle bones losses start to occur after our mid-30's, they get more pronounced around 50 years of age. While these changes have several causes, perhaps the most concerning is bone density. This loss, known as osteoporosis, is most threatening because it can cause bone to fracture too easily. It's more common in women, especially smaller ones, but it also occurs in men.

All kinds of research shows that bone density improves with physical loading, i.e., stressing the bone. If you want to understand the science of improving bone health, read this excellent research by Katarina Borer. 

Being highly intelligent and motivated to maintain her high performance on the bench, Justice Ginsberg uses resistance training to develop and preserve her bone health. Simply placing additional pressure on the bone stimulates it to grow stronger.

This loading can also be accomplished by doing 60 jumps twice a day at least five days a week. These can be jumps, hops, or skips.

Don' be fooled by her friendly smile, Justice Ginsberg is tough to the bone. Resistance exercise isn't just for the good old boys.

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