Exercise benefits bone health

Physical activity improves bone health, especially for older men.

Research presented at the recent Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research has shown the benefit of exercise for men’s bone health.

The ASBMR Annual Meeting, held in Montreal, Canada, is the world’s premier meeting of experts in the bone, mineral and musculoskeletal science.

Older people are at a high risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. In addition, people who have had a bone fracture are at a higher risk of a secondary fracture soon after.

This is one area where men face a higher risk than women. A Canadian study presented at the Annual Meeting showed that men are actually have three times higher risk of secondary fracture than those without a primary one. Women, by comparison, have a risk of only 1.8 times higher.

A second study found that men who engaged moderate physical activity had stronger bones and were thus at a lower risk of fracture. The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study looked at 1,000 older men (with an average age of 84) and whether they exercised or had more sedentary lifestyles.

The researchers found that those who did at least moderate physical activity and had a more active lifestyle overall had higher bone strength than sedentary men.

“Older men are at a higher risk of life altering fractures,” said Dr. Lisa Langsetmo, one of the study’s authors.

“This was a breakthrough to finally have data to show that physical activity among men late in life was related to bone strength and fracture risk, therefore showing that remaining active over the life-course could reduce the risk of these fractures.”

Studies such as this show that osteoporosis and bone fractures are not just concerns for older women. Older men need to increase their physical activity and lead active lifestyles to keep their bones healthy and strong through their lives.

Moderate physical activity can include walking, golf, tai-chi and low-impact resistance exercise, such as using SCIFIT equipment. With guidance it can easily be included as a part of everyday life.

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