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Want to Improve Your Bone Health? Consider High Impact Exercise.


Physical activity is important for preventing bone loss and osteoporosis. The challenge for older and inactive people, is the type of exercise that actually builds bone is high impact. In other words, you actually have to jar bones by jumping or running at a good pace in order to build them, according to a new study.


UK researchers studied a group of teenagers and had them wear activity monitors as they went about their daily routines. They also measured the volunteers’ hip bone density.
When they retrieved the teens’ monitors a week later, the researchers analyzed the adolescents’ G forces exposure. G forces measure impact. The scientists found the kids whose monitors revealed forces of 4.2 Gs or greater had sturdier hip bones. People can achieve impact forces this high if they run a 10-minute mile or jump up onto and down from a 15-inch (or higher) box.

In other words, people have to run fairly fast or jump high to get real bone-building benefit.

These researchers followed the study on adolescents with one looking at 20 women older than 60. They equipped the women with monitors and measured their activity levels as the volunteers did an aerobics class, took brief and some intense walks and stepped onto and off of a one-foot-high box. Surprisingly none of the women got close to the 4-G threshold. The highest force generated was 2.1 Gs during the exercises.

Dr. Jon Tobias, the study’s lead researcher and professor of rheumatology at the University of Bristol, says young people and healthy adults should work something jarring—whether that’s sprinting, jumping, etc.–into their routines. The recommendation is not so clear for older adults whose bodies might not be able to handle more intense exercises. Tobias and colleagues hope to get a better understanding of how much older adults need and can do, in the way of exercise, to improve their bone mass.

Physical therapists are the exercise experts. For more about how physical therapists can educate people about how to safely and efficiently get the most out of exercise, contact A Physical Therapist, Inc.

A Physical Therapist, Inc., is a one-on-one physical therapy clinic in Delray Beach, Fla., and Harrisburg, Penn. For patients in Palm Beach County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Boca Raton or Boynton Beach. For patients in Dauphin County, A Physical Therapist, Inc., is easily accessible from Hershey and Marysville.

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