Even a One-Minute Run Might Help a Woman’s Bones

Even a One-Minute Run Might Help a Woman’s Bones

Just a minute or two of running every day could strengthen your bones, new research suggests.

British scientists found that women who engage in “brief bursts” of any high-intensity, weight-bearing physical activity had 4 percent better bone health than their less active peers.

“We don’t yet know whether it’s better to accumulate this small amount of exercise in bits throughout each day or all at once, and also whether a slightly longer bout of exercise on one or two days per week is just as good as one to two minutes a day,” said study author Victoria Stiles. She’s a senior lecturer in Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter.

“But there’s a clear link between this kind of high-intensity, weight-bearing exercise and better bone health in women,” Stiles said in a university news release.

For the study, the researchers compared data on more than 2,500 women. The women wore monitors for one week to track their activity levels, and underwent ultrasounds of their heel bones to assess their bone health.

“We wanted to make every second count in our analysis, because short snippets of high-intensity activity are more beneficial to bone health than longer, continuous periods,” Stiles said. “We were careful not to ignore short bursts of activity throughout the day.”

Women who exercised intensely for more than two minutes each day had 6 percent better bone health. For younger women, this was the equivalent of a medium-paced run. For postmenopausal women, this meant a slow jog, the researchers said.

Since the findings are based on a particular group of women at a specific point in time, it’s unclear if the intense physical activity improved the women’s bone health or if women with stronger bones tend to do more of this type of exercise. So, the study did not prove that running causes bone health to improve.

“However, it seems likely that just one to two minutes of running a day is good for bone health,” Stiles said.

More information

The National Osteoporosis Foundation provides more information on women’s bone health .

It’s Never Too Soon to Safeguard Your Bones

It’s Never Too Soon to Safeguard Your Bones

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Bone health is literally something you build on throughout your life, not just as a child. And the efforts you put in now will keep bones strong and help prevent the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis later on, as you age.

Most of the 10 million Americans living with osteoporosis are women, but men are at risk, too, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. It weakens bones, leaving them at greater risk of fracture. Here are 4 steps to better bone health for women and men.

First, make sure your diet has calcium, an essential mineral, and vitamin D. These nutrients work in tandem on bone building. Low-fat dairy, such as plain yogurt and milk, is a great calcium source. Also, look for milk that’s been fortified with vitamin D. You can get some D from fatty fish, like tuna and salmon, spending limited time in the sun, and supplements.

Second, eat healthy in general. Magnesium, potassium and vitamins C and K are also important. They’re in many fruits, peppers and leafy green veggies. Get enough protein, but not too much, which could lower your calcium level. Skip soda and limit alcohol, salt and caffeine.

Third, get the types of exercise that support bone health, primarily strength-training and weight-bearing cardio activities — those that are done standing, like walking. Add workouts that help with balance, like yoga and tai chi, to improve posture and prevent falls, the key culprit in broken bones.

Finally, don’t smoke. Smoking decreases all-important bone density.

More information

The National Osteoporosis Foundation has a wealth of advice for building stronger bones through diet and exercise.