- Women who exercise for 1 minute every day improve their bone health
- Exercising more than 2 minutes a day improves bone health by 6 percent
- Good bone health reduces the risk of osteoporosis & fractures in old age
Exercising just for a minute every day has been associated with better bone health in women, reveals a new study. Researchers found that women who exercised for about 60-120 seconds of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity per day had four percent better bone health than those who exercised less than a minute. The data used by the researchers was taken from UK Biobank.
The bone health of women increased in those who did "brief bursts" of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity that is equivalent to a medium-paced run for pre-menopausal women and a slow jog for post-menopausal women, according to scientists from the University of Exeter and the University of Leicester.
Dr Victoria Stiles, lead author of the University of Exeter said, "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 1-2 minutes a day."
Dr. Stiles also said that the link between high-intensity, weight-bearing exercise and better bone health in women was clear, as this is a cross-sectional study, the data assessed is taken from a subset of the population at a particular point in time.
She also said that we cannot be sure whether the high-intensity exercise led to better bone health or those with better bone health exercised more. But it was found that just 1-2 minutes of running every day improves bone health.
The data on more than 2,500 women was taken by the researchers and their activity levels were compared with bone health. The activity levels were measured by wrist-worn monitors and the bone health was measured by an ultrasound scan of heel bone.
The researchers found that the bone health was increased by four percent in those women who exercised for about one to two minutes of high-intensity, weight-bearing exercise and they also found that the bone health has increased by six percent among those who exercised more than two minutes a day.
Dr Stiles said that the data from UK Biobank was taken from monitors worn for a week. This was broken down into single seconds to understand individuals daily activities. She also that every second in their analysis was counted, as short snippets of high-intensity activity were found to be more beneficial to bone health, than longer periods.
The researchers were very careful in observing short bursts of activity that took place throughout the day.
Dr Stiles suggested anyone who are interested in increasing their day-to-day levels of activity said: "The UK's National Osteoporosis Society recommends increasing your walking activity first. Further on, we would suggest adding a few running steps to the walk, a bit like you might if you were running to catch a bus."
Good bone health reduces the risk of osteoporosis, fractures in older age and many more health benefits.
Link Between Osteoporosis and Menopause
Currently, osteoporosis and low bone mass are major public health threats. About 44 million U.S. women and men aged 50 and older are either at risk of osteoporosis or low bone mass. Older women are at higher risk for bone loss. Weak bones can easily break even without an injury. Lack of estrogen has a direct relationship with during perimenopause (natural decline of reproductive hormones) and menopause and the development of osteoporosis. Loss of bone mass is seen in women whose hormone levels are low and menstrual periods are absent or infrequent.
- Victoria H Stiles, et al. A small amount of precisely measured high-intensity habitual physical activity predicts bone health in pre- and post-menopausal women in UK Biobank. Int J Epidemiol June 2017.
- What causes bone loss? (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000506.htm)
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Hannah Joy. 2021. Can Running For Just One Minute Boost Bone Health?. Medindia, viewed Jun 28, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/can-running-for-just-one-minute-boost-bone-health-171773-1.htm.