Many think once they’re at risk for osteoporosis they should reduce theamount of exercise they do to compensate for brittle bones. But the opposite isactually true. A study done by theDepartment of Sport and Health Sciences at a Finland University determined thatwomen at risk for osteoarthritis can safely carry out progressive low-impact tohigh-impact physical activity programs if they desire, and maintaining activitycan actually delay bone degeneration and improve physical function.
A group of eighty women ranging from age 50-65 years old who experiencedknee pain were enrolled into the study and randomly assigned to a training orcontrol group. Radiographs were done todetermine levels of degeneration of in the knees, and the training group participantswere enrolled into a progressive exercise program three times a week for 12months, while the control group continued normal amounts of physical activity.
At the end of the study, those in the training group actuallyexperienced increased bone density in regions of the knee, which lead toimproved physical function both in the bones and cardiorespiratoryability. The most surprising finding wasthat high-impact exercises did not have negative effects on the chemicalcomposition of cartilage, or lead to decreased bone density, in those thatengaged in the training exercises. Participants in the study also reported a reduction in knee pain inaddition to mobility benefits.
The results of this study should encourage persons of any age tocontinue exercise programs, even high-impact ones, if they are able due to thebiological and biophysical benefits. Exercise can maintain bone health and actually increase density even inthose with osteoarthritis, no matter their previous fitness or risk levels.
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