Men who make it a point to hit the gym several times a week often cite building muscle and shedding fat as their main motivations. However, a new study published in ScienceDaily last week finds that high-impact and resistance training also builds bone mass. Findings show that individuals who continuously participated in high-impact activities like jogging, handball and exercise machines at the gym during adolescence and young adulthood develop greater hip and lumbar spine bone mineral density than those who did not.
Having a healthy amount of bone mass also leaves one’s bones less vulnerable to breakage from falls later in life. The University of Missouri study points out that not only women suffer from osteoporosis.”While osteoporosis is commonly associated with only post-menopausal women, it is, in fact, a serious issue for men as well,” said Pamela Hinton, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. “Indeed, research has shown that the consequences of osteoporosis can be much worse for men, as they are less likely to be diagnosed and are at a greater mortality risk from fractures that occur as a result of a fall.”
Hinton Set out to show define a connection between bone loading exercise during adolescence and young adulthood, a time when the skeleton is growing, and bone mass of middle age men, who skeletons are fully developed. Her study analyzed data from the physical histories of 203 males between 30-65 years of age. Participants’ history of involvement in sports and exercise varied in type, level of intensity, and length of time spent exercising. Summarily the impact showed significant increases in bone mass can be obtained by strength training and high-impact exercise throughout one’s lifetime.
“The most important take-away is that if you are healthy, it is never too late to begin high-impact activities or resistance training to improve bone mineral density,” Hinton said. “While activity during skeletal growth is significant, we also saw positive associations between such physical activity and bone density at all ages. So even middle-aged men who spent their teenage years sitting on the couch could see benefits from beginning a bone-strengthening exercise program.
“Experts say more than 90 percent of hip fractures are associated with osteoporosis and that nine out of 10 hip fractures in older Americans are the result of a fall. Furthermore, elderly individuals who fracture their hip are 5 to 20 percent more likely to die in the first year following that injury than others in this age group. Exercising when we’re young protects our bones by ramping up muscle strength and thickening bones, while a sedentary lifestyle makes it 15 to 25 percent more probable one will still be in long-term care institutions a year after breaking their hip.The research titled “Physical activity-associated bone loading during adolescence and young adulthood is positively associated with adult bone mineral density in men,” was first published in the American Journal of Men’s Health.