Exercise Helps Aging Bones

A June 8, 2005 release from "HealthDay News" reported over a study of 104 women and men that took part in 6 months of aerobic exercise by using a bicycle, treadmill or stepper, combined with weightlifting. The outcomes of this study were better overall fitness and fat loss without significant alternation in bone mineral density. Actually the researchers discovered that participants who exercised the hardest and had the highest increases in aerobic fitness, muscle strength and muscle tissue showed bone mass increases of 1 percent to 2 percent. Co-author and endocrinologist Dr. Suzanne Jan de Beur, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement, "Fat loss with exercise didn't produce a loss of bone mass, a problem commonly seen when patients lose weight with diet alone."

Lead investigator Kerry Stewart, professor of medicine and director of clinical exercise physiology and heart health programs at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute, explained, "Older individuals are very worried about the best way to lower their body fat as a way of preventing other health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. However, excess fat does have the benefit of maintaining bone mass." She added, "But fat reduction through diet alone can cause loss of bone, worsening your body's natural bone loss as a result of aging, a major risk factor for bone fractures."
Dr. de Beur recommended that older people should either exercise at a higher level of intensity or for longer than 6 months to experience a substantial boost in bone density. She stated, "Our results reveal that moderate-intensity exercise can increase fitness and lower excess fat, which are important for all around health, but gains in bone density were found only among those who achieved the greatest gains in fitness in six months."

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