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Even A Little Exercise Can Help Avoid Osteoporosis In Women

Posted Monday, December 4, 2017 by Gene Moen

It has been recognized for many years the importance for women of engaging in weight-bearing exercise to slow down or avoid osteoporosis. New research from two universities in England found that even a single one-minute bout of high-intensity, weight-bearing physical activity is associated with improved bone health in women. Differences in the effects of exercise were found in postmenopausal versus premenopausal women. For example, it was found that a short, slow-paced jog worked well for the former group and was equivalent to a run at a medium pace for the latter group.

According to many studies, being inactive is a modifiable risk factor for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis occurs when bone tissue is broken down and replaced, but as women age the replacement does not keep pace with the removal of old bone. The holes and spaces in the bone make them more likely to fracture. Weight-bearing exercise is known to increase the rate of bone replacement, thus reducing the fracture risks as women age.

Despite this knowledge, it is not clear exactly how important exercise is for the general population, compared to other modifiable risk factors, such as diet, smoking, and alcohol. Sorting out the different importance of these factors is complicated by the fact that those who are obese, smoke, or drink alcohol are less likely to indulge in weight-bearing exercise.

Nonetheless, the findings of the English research is that there is a clear link between exercise and bone health. It was found that women who engaged in 60-120 seconds of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity each day had a four percent better bone health than women who took part in less than a minute of such activity. Women who did more than two minutes of this type of exercise had six percent better bone health. The overall conclusion, according to one of the researchers: “it seems likely that just 1-2 minutes of running a day is good for bone health.”

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