Men lose bone mass gradually as they grow old. This greatly exposes them to a risk of osteoporosis, a serious condition in which the bones become very weak and brittle. Over ten million men have the condition while over 16 million others suffer from low bone mass. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that some jumping and weight- lifting exercises, when carried out for at least 6 months, can greatly increase bone density in healthy, active, middle aged men suffering from low bone mass. Such exercises can therefore prevent osteoporosis through the promotion of healthy bone growth.
This research, which was recently published in the Bone journal, is the only one that have identified the effects of jumping and weight lifting exercises on the health of men’s bones. Professor Pam Hinton, the study’s lead researcher, pointed out to the fact that there exists countless weight lifting programs with no research done to identify their effects on bone health.
Hinton and his team studied a group of 38 physically active, middle aged men who successfully completed either a jumping program or a weight lifting program for 12 months. Both programs required the participating men to complete 60 to 120 minutes of the targeted exercises every week. The participant took Vitamin D and calcium supplements throughout the study period. The men’s bone masses were measured at the start of the research and after 6 and twelve months using specialized X-rays scans of the lumbar spine, hips and the whole body.
The researchers found that the bony mass of the lumbar spine and the whole body significantly increased after 6 months of successfully completing the jumping and weight lifting programs. The increase was maintained at twelve months. Hip bone density was found to increase only in those who successfully completed the weight lifting program.
Hinton said that this research does not conclude that all weight lifting exercises can improve bone mass. Instead, the targeted exercises made weight lifting more effective. Training intensity has to be increased with time for results to be more effective. Participants must also take rest weeks as bones need some rest in order to maximize their response. Only the bones experiencing mechanical load would get stronger after the exercises.
Men do not have to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases to start exercising regularly. Similarly, you don’t have to wait until you suffer from osteoporosis to start weight lifting andjumping. You can do it as a preventive measure. These exercises should be incorporated in osteoporosis treatment as they successfully reverse bone loss.