Low bone mass and deterioration of bone structure is a condition termed osteoporosis. This condition is commonly presented in the elderly, but should not be excused as a ‘natural part of aging’. The strength of bone is under genetic control, but can also be greatly influenced by environmental factors, such as exercise!
“Osteoporosis affects over 220 million people worldwide, and currently there is no ‘cure’ for the disease” 1
“In 2011, 1.2 million Australians were diagnosed with osteoporosis and another 5.4 million had osteopenia ” 2
“The maximum amount of bone a person can obtain during the first two decades of life is an important determinant of bone mass in later life, and an increase in peak bone mass has been associated with decreased risk for osteoporotic fractures.”3
Weight-bearing and its effect on bone have been shown in the loaded bone sites. For example, swimmers had lower bone mass in their legs and feet than did gymnast, runners, dancers, and many other sports that involve high-impact loading on the lower limbs.
Heinonen et al., (2000) studied the influence of mechanical loading during the growth phase of girls. The study included two groups, exercise and a non-exercise group over 9 months. The exercise group performed two sessions per week of a step-aerobic program with additional jumps.
Heinonen et al., (2000), reported that:
“exercise seemed more beneficial for additional bone mineral acquisition before menarche (i.e., during the growth spurt) rather than after it.”
To prevent osteoporosis, the growing years are very important in building stronger bones via weight-bearing-high-impact exercises.
1.Gianoudis, J., Bailey, C. A., Sanders, K. M., Nowson, C. A., Hill, K., Ebeling, P. R., & Daly, R. M. (2012). Osteo-cise: strong bones for life: protocol for a community-based randomised controlled trial of a multi-modal exercise and osteoporosis education program for older adults at risk of falls and fractures. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 13(1), 1.
2.Henry MJ, Pasco JA, Nicholson GC & Kotowicz MA. (2011). Prevalence of osteoporosis in Australian men and women: Geelong Osteoporosis Study. Medical Journal of Australia;195(6):321–322.
3.Heinonen, A., Sievänen, H., Kannus, P., Oja, P., Pasanen, M., & Vuori, I. (2000). High-impact exercise and bones of growing girls: a 9-month controlled trial. Osteoporosis International, 11(12), 1010-1017.Henry MJ, Pasco JA, Nicholson GC, Kotowicz MA (2011). Prevalence of osteoporosis in Australian men and women: Geelong Osteoporosis Study. Med J Australia, 195 (6): 321-322.