Brief Exercise For Better Bones
Taking a daily, minute long run could benefit women’s bones. A new study from the UK shows that even a 60 to 120 second sprint appears to help boost bone health by four percent. Researchers at the University of Exeter and the University of Leicester reached this conclusion after examining data on more than 2,500 women and comparing their activity levels (as measured by wrist monitors) with their bone health (as seen on ultrasound scans of heel bones). They also reported that women whose exercise exceeded two minutes a day had six percent better bone health than those who performed less than one minute of daily activity. Despite these findings, the investigators said they couldn’t be sure whether the high-intensity physical activity actually led to better bone health or whether women with better bone health simply do more of this kind of exercise. However, if you’re interested in trying high intensity activity to strengthen your bones, the researchers noted that your best bet is to first increase the amount you walk and then add a few running steps, as you might if you were rushing to catch a bus.
My take? These new findings are interesting and may support earlier clinical evidence showing that it is possible to reverse bone loss through activity that is much more strenuous than walking or even jogging. In 2015 researchers at the University of Missouri reported that both strength training (weight lifting) and jumping exercises helped a group of 38 active, middle-aged men with low bone mass improve their bone density. After six-months of performing these activities, the researchers found significant increases in whole body and lumbar spine bone mass in all the participants, but saw improvements in the density of the hipbone only among the men in the weight-lifting group.
Victoria H. Stiles et al, “A small amount of precisely measured high-intensity habitual physical activity predicts bone health in pre- and post-menopausal women in UK Biobank.” International Journal of Epidemiology, June 29, 2017; DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyx080
Also in this week’s health bulletin:
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