Most people often think of osteoporosis as a woman’s disease.
Unfortunately, osteoporosis isn’t just a problem women have to face–nearly 2 million American men also battle this debilitating condition, according to recent statistics.
Now researchers say they’ve come across a simple way to reduce this risk for men.
According to a recent study by University of Missouri researchers, men who did certain types of weightlifting and jumping exercises increased the density of their bones, lowering their risk of osteoporosis.
Just one catch, though: You have to do it for at least six months.
“Weight-lifting programs exist to increase muscular strength, but less research has examined what happens to bones during these types of exercises,” says Pam Hinton, director of nutritional sciences graduate studies in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri. “Our study is the first to show that exercise-based interventions work to increase bone density in middle-aged men with low bone mass who are otherwise healthy. These exercises could be prescribed to reverse bone loss associated with aging.”
Published in the journal Bone, researchers had 38 middle-aged men complete either a weight-lifting program or a jumping program for a year, keeping tabs on their bone density before, during, and after the study. They also took calcium and vitamin D supplements, which also helped increase their bone density.
After the study, researchers specifically looked at the density of all of their bones, including the lumbar spine. As it turned out, both workouts made a big difference–increasing their bone density after just 6 months of training.
Researchers emphasize these workouts only worked when they did certain exercises, however, such as squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses, all exercises that put pressure on the hip and spine.
“Only the bone experiencing the mechanical load is going to get stronger, so we specifically chose exercises that would load the hip and the spine, which is why we had participants do squats, deadlifts, lunges and the overhead press,” says Hinton. “Also, the intensity of the loading needs to increase over time to build strength. Both of the training programs gradually increased in intensity, and our participants also had rest weeks. Bones need to rest to continue to maximize the response.”
As for which workout routine is best, researchers don’t have an answer, so it’s up to personal preference. Weightlifting routines carry far more benefits, however, note exercise experts, such as increasing your metabolism and adding muscle mass.
“The interventions we studied are effective, safe and take 60-120 minutes per week to complete, which is feasible for most people,” says Hinton. “Also, the exercises can be done at home and require minimal exercise equipment, which adds to the ease of implementing and continuing these interventions.”
What You Should Do
Want to reduce your risk of osteoporosis? To keep your risk low, try adding weightlifting or jumping exercises to your workout routine, specifically ones that involve the use of the hip and spine. Doing so, according to research, could reverse low bone density in just 6 months.
Readers: Have your tried lifting weights before?
Exercise May Reverse Age-Related Bone Loss in Middle-Aged Men – ScienceDaily.com
Effectiveness of Resistance Training or Jumping-Exercise to Increase Bone Mineral Density in Men With Low Bone Mass (Study) – TheBoneJournal.com