Low-impact exercise boosts bone mass

November 6, 2001 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Sports Nutrition and Exercise, Women's Health

Low-impact exercise boosts bone mass

Aerobic exercise can increase women's bone density, and it need not be a high-impact regimen to work.

According to Boston researchers, walking for 30 minutes a day, a few days a week is enough to support bone health. In a review of 24 studies on aerobic exercise and bone mineral density in women, the research team found that, regular exercisers saw about a 2% bone mass gain over non-exercisers.

The researchers analyzed studies that followed women aged 18 and older, the majority of whom were sedentary. In each study, some women were assigned to an aerobic exercise regimen that lasted at least 16 weeks. Walking was the most common form of exercise used in the studies -- on average, women walked about a half-hour, 3 days a week.

Whether the modest gain translates into a lower risk of osteoporosis and its associated fractures is unclear.

But because exercise improves balance and coordination, it could lower older women's odds of falling, which would provide benefits beyond any boosts in bone mass.

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