High Impact Exercise Good for Bones

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    Mar 07, 2014 5:00 PM GMT
    Bones should be jarred, for their own good. Past experiments have definitively established that subjecting bones to abrupt stress prompts them to add mass or at least reduces their loss of mass as people age. What has been in dispute, however, is how much force is needed to stimulate bone — and how to apply that force in daily life.

    Recently researchers at the University of Bristol gathered male and female adolescents — the body accumulates bone mass rapidly at this time of life — and had them go about their daily routines while they wore activity monitors. The bone density of the volunteers’ hips was also measured.

    A week later, the scientists reclaimed the monitors to check each teenager’s exposure to G forces­, a measure of impact. Those who experienced impacts of 4.2 G’s or greater — though these were infrequent — had notably sturdier hipbones. Additional work done by the same researchers showed that running a 10-minute mile or jumping up onto and down from a box at least 15 inches high was needed to produce forces that great. The significance of these findings is that people should probably run pretty fast or jump high to generate forces great enough to help build bone.

    Unfortunately, few older adults are likely to be doing so.

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/why-high-impact-exercise-is-good-for-your-bones/?_php=true&_type=blogs&hp&_r=0
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    Mar 07, 2014 7:06 PM GMT
    Or, do resistance training, to develop bone lattice.

    Too much impact causes all sorts of issues. E.g., runners and knees.
  • FRE0

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    Mar 07, 2014 8:01 PM GMT
    Jarring may be good for the bones, but it can be destructive to the joints.
  • Wyatt

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    Mar 07, 2014 8:33 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidOr, do resistance training, to develop bone lattice.

    Too much impact causes all sorts of issues. E.g., runners and knees.
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    Mar 07, 2014 8:38 PM GMT
    The article continues: Alas, a kind of Catch-22 confronts older individuals who have not been engaging in high-impact exercise: Their bodies and bones may not be capable of handling the types of activity most likely to improve bone health. Dr. Tobias and his colleagues hope to better understand what level of impact will benefit these people. In the meantime, anyone uncertain about the state of his or her bones should consult a physician before undertaking high-impact exercise (a caveat that also applies to those with a history of joint problems, including arthritis). For his part, Dr. Tobias says, “I plan to keep running until my joints wear out.”
  • DanOmatic

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    Mar 08, 2014 2:02 AM GMT
    I agree, to a large extent, about the benefit of impact for bone strength, but it has to be in moderation, and in combination with other activities for all-round good health. I know a lot of cyclists who are by many measures extremely fit, but they have low bone density because almost all of their physical activity has been on a bike. Running, jumping and lifting all contribute to better bone health, but not done in moderation, can end up making life miserable in the form of joint pain and chronic injury.

    Cross training is best, a mixture of both low and high impact activities, as well as aerobic and anaerobic activities.
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    Mar 08, 2014 2:19 AM GMT
    Another viewpoint on running..
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/11/phys-ed-can-running-actually-help-your-knees/

    ..recent evidence suggests that running may actually shield somewhat against arthritis, in part because the knee develops a kind of motion groove. A group of engineers and doctors at Stanford published a study in the February issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery that showed that by moving and loading your knee joint, as you do when walking or running, you “condition” your cartilage to the load. It grows accustomed to those particular movements. You can run for miles, decades, a lifetime, without harming it. But if this exquisite balance is disturbed, usually by an injury, the loading mechanisms shift, the moving parts of the knee are no longer in their accustomed alignment and a “degenerative pathway” seems to open. The cartilage, like an unbalanced tire, wears away. Pain, tissue disintegration and, eventually, arthritis can follow.
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    Mar 08, 2014 4:31 AM GMT
    For hothouse flowers such as myself once or twice a week incline walking on a flexdeck treadmill and using an elliptical/incumbent bike/pool the rest of the time should do the trick. Even if I didn't also lift.
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    Mar 08, 2014 5:52 AM GMT
    Yes, but I'd just like it if a few thousand post docs could stop working on HIV for a while and develop a new technology to re-grow cartilage. If you don't have any to start with, all this other shit doesn't do any good.


    And BTW, many, many of us actually do read the NYT every day. You don't need to repost the whole thing here icon_rolleyes.gif Those who don't read it probably don't care anyway.
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    Mar 08, 2014 11:17 PM GMT
    Recently, I started running. I'd run 3X a week, each time for 10 min (~1 mile). It felt great. However, after just 3 months, my back problems became much more exaggerated (especially my lower back & hips). Now, I've given up on running and stick to the elliptical machine.
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    Mar 08, 2014 11:24 PM GMT
    sweetyork saidRecently, I started running. I'd run 3X a week, each time for 10 min (~1 mile). It felt great. However, after just 3 months, my back problems became much more exaggerated (especially my lower back & hips). Now, I've given up on running and stick to the elliptical machine.

    Sounds like you need to evaluate your running form. Also, maybe incorporate lower back exercises in your weight lifting routine.
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    Mar 09, 2014 2:57 AM GMT
    Shuttle and space station experiments confirm that bone flexure is essential to trigger blood and plasma production. Bones are the chemical factories of the body and it's all triggered by flexure. However, weight training is sufficient to trigger the production . Running until you are crippled is not required..
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    Mar 24, 2014 4:53 AM GMT
    Wow, this article makes it to our forum! I was expecting her to come up with evidence against knee-jarring exercises because that has been the conventional wisdom (learned from exercise science). Since then, I have cautiously been incorporating more high impact moves back into my IT regime.

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    Mar 24, 2014 5:37 AM GMT
    Well, duh. Osteoprogenitors differentiate into osteoblasts when the bones need to ossify, and they only ossify when presented with new, challenging stressors, or when the bones fuse from old age, like the xjphoid process, coccygeals, etc.. Lack of stress increases the ratio of osteoclasts to osteoblasts - that's why you see so many couch potatoes or paralyzed people with low bone density: the body doesn't need to invest energy, so the bones undergo osteolysis to reabsorb the calcium salts.
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    Mar 24, 2014 2:27 PM GMT
    FRE0 saidJarring may be good for the bones, but it can be destructive to the joints.

    Correct, I'm evidence of that. I frequently ran long distances in the Army for 25 years, often in boots, not wearing cushy running shoes. My joints are now a mess. So that today I can't run, or jump, which means my bones get little impact strengthening, just when at my age I need to maintain bone strength most.

    Sometimes studies take too narrow a view of an issue. The best answer for overall skeletal health may be low-impact resistance training. Unfortunately now I even have trouble doing that. icon_sad.gif
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    Mar 24, 2014 2:49 PM GMT
    Wyatt said
    chuckystud saidOr, do resistance training, to develop bone lattice.

    Too much impact causes all sorts of issues. E.g., runners and knees.



    All is required is flexure, weight training will do that.
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    Mar 24, 2014 4:35 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidBones should be jarred, for their own good. Past experiments have definitively established that subjecting bones to abrupt stress prompts them to add mass or at least reduces their loss of mass as people age. What has been in dispute, however, is how much force is needed to stimulate bone — and how to apply that force in daily life.

    Recently researchers at the University of Bristol gathered male and female adolescents — the body accumulates bone mass rapidly at this time of life — and had them go about their daily routines while they wore activity monitors. The bone density of the volunteers’ hips was also measured.

    A week later, the scientists reclaimed the monitors to check each teenager’s exposure to G forces­, a measure of impact. Those who experienced impacts of 4.2 G’s or greater — though these were infrequent — had notably sturdier hipbones. Additional work done by the same researchers showed that running a 10-minute mile or jumping up onto and down from a box at least 15 inches high was needed to produce forces that great. The significance of these findings is that people should probably run pretty fast or jump high to generate forces great enough to help build bone.

    Unfortunately, few older adults are likely to be doing so.

    BOLD TEXT GOES HERE/03/07/why-high-impact-exercise-is-good-for-your-bones/?_php=true&_type=blogs&hp&_r=0" target="_blank">http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/why-high-impact-exercise-is-good-for-your-bones/?_php=true&_type=blogs&hp&_r=0


    This makes me skeptical. Why do the researchers assume that running fast(er than 10-minute miles) is higher impact? Running at a good pace naturally balances you, so you don't have to arc as much, I find. Running as slow as 10 minutes per mile would be painful...