- Exercise is generally recommended to prevent obesity, heart disease or diabetes and to maintain health.
- New findings show that long-term, weight-bearing exercises among men, increase IGF-1, a hormone associated with bone growth.
- Increase in IGF-1 promotes bone formation, increases bone density and thus helps in preventing osteoporosis
The first study in men has shown that long-term, weight-bearing exercises decrease sclerostin, a protein made in the bone, and increase IGF-1, a hormone associated with bone growth. Sclerostin is higher levels has a negative impact on bone formation.
These changes promote bone formation by increasing bone density. The study was conducted by Pamela Hinton, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.
‘Resistance and jump-training exercises help in increasing bone density and preventing osteoporosis, especially in men with low bone mass.’
According to National Osteoporosis Foundation, around 200 million people worldwide are affected by osteoporosis. It is a condition that causes bones to become brittle, porous and eventually break.
"People may be physically active, and many times people know they need to exercise to prevent obesity, heart disease or diabetes," Hinton said. "However, you also really need to do specific exercises to protect your bone health."
For the study, men aged 25 to 60 years, who had low-bone mass were recruited.
They were split into two groups
- One group was instructed to perform resistance training exercises such as lunges and squats using free weights
- The other group performed various types of jumps, such as single-leg and double-leg jumps
After 12 months of performing the exercises, the levels of bone proteins and hormones in the blood were compared.
"We saw a decrease in the level of sclerostin in both of these exercise interventions in men," Hinton said. "When sclerostin is expressed at high levels, it has a negative impact on bone formation. In both resistance and jump training, the level of sclerostin in the bone goes down, which triggers bone formation."
There was also an increase in the hormone IGF-1, which triggered bone growth unlike sclerostin.
The decrease of harmful sclerostin levels and the increase in beneficial IGF-1 levels confirms that both resistance training and jump training have beneficial effects on bone growth.
Exercises such as swimming and cycling, though beneficial to overall health, do not improve bone strength.
Engaging in exercises that target bone health, such as resistance training and jump training, helps to increase bone mass and prevent osteoporosis.
The study, "Serum sclerostin decreases following 12 months of resistance- or jump-training in men with low bone mass," was published in Bone
- Pamela Hinton et al. Serum sclerostin decreases following 12 months of resistance- or jump-training in men with low bone mass. Bone; (2017) DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2016.10.011