If your bones have been weakened as a result of having amenorrhea (the absence of a menstrual cycle), you may be wondering what you can do to improve your bone health.

Strength training is often recommended as a good way to increase bone density, and it is, but certified strength and conditioning specialist Amanda Tierney discusses why people suffering from RED-S / REDs need to be careful not only about strength training, but also other low impact activities, like yoga.

She recommends learning about osteogenic loading , and suggests that you and your treatment team might want to look into Safe Exercise at Every Stage.


Read the transcript

[Tina]  My bone health is low from RED-S. Should I do strength training during recovery to help with it? I’ve heard that that helps. 

 [Amanda]  That’s a really good question, and I think that’s one that you could bring to your treatment team, specifically your medical doctor, just to ask  the safety factor and kind of severity of bone health concerned. But there’s a lot of really, really good literature and resources out there. One of them is the Safe Exercise at Every Stage, and it really can give you and your treatment team some options on what you can add in and when. Also look into osteogenic loading. It’s a safer way to kind of load the bones, to increase bone mineral density, even without putting in extra energy expenditure. 

 [Tina]  So maybe I’ll put some of those resources into the comments below, so people can go check that out. Is there ever a point you wouldn’t say that… Does that become a point where maybe, and I’ll admit I did this myself, like you’re kind of looking for ways to burn calories. Is there a point you would say to maybe try and refrain from even strength training, if you’re honest with yourself that you’re using it for a way of burning calories?  

 [Amanda]  I mean, I think if you’re being honest with yourself, like very light yoga can also be pretty detrimental. So it’s really figuring out what your intentions are and  what your needs are. I think if you have bone health concerns, it’s really important to go to a professional that knows how to treat those bone health concerns and an exercise professional that knows how to keep you safe. And I said, you know, light yoga can be detrimental because of the bending and the twisting, but a lot of times we don’t think that. We just think, “Okay, well it’s yoga, so it’s safe because it’s light intensity,” but in fact, maybe some of the strength training exercises could be helpful. But then if you’re using it in a way that is not helpful, you kind of have to weigh the options and get support around intention. 

[Tina] So even if a lot of what people are reading about is saying, ‘Well, strength training helps your bones, strength training helps your bones,” yes, but if your bones are in a very fragile state, you could absolutely be doing more harm than good. 

 [Amanda] Correct. 

[Tina] Okay, great. Thank you.

check it out

Recovering from RED-S is hard. It’s even harder if you’re working through it alone. Even if you have professional support, they’re not available 24-7, and that can lead to going down search engine rabbit holes that have the potential to derail everything.

Our online resource, RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover, will answer all those questions swimming around in your head about recovery. It will give you the opportunity to connect with the experts you’ve come to know here, and to surround  yourself with a community of others who are going through it too.

THANK YOU! to Athletic Greens and Tracksmith for supporting this YouTube series and RED-S: Realize. Reflect. Recover.

Go to athleticgreens.com/reds to get five free travel packs of AG1 and a free one year’s supply of vitamin D3+K2 with your subscription!

When you go to https://tracksmith.com/tina and use the code TINA15 at checkout, you’ll get free shipping and Tracksmith will donate 5% of your order to Rising Hearts, the Indigenous-led nonprofit founded by Jordan Marie Daniels.

more about amanda:

Amanda Tierney, MS, CSCS, CEDS-S is located in St. Louis, MO and is originally from New Jersey/Philadelphia. She has two young kids, a wonderful husband, and a howling beagle mix. She is an eating disorder informed & sensitive fitness provider who works with athletes and general ED programming with safely integrating the movement/sport training/therapeutic recreation aspect to their recovery. Amanda has a private training practice,Discovering Balance: Fitness Coaching and Support, and is the director of The Victory Program and Fitness at McCallum Place. You can find her at https://www.rockthebalance.com/.

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