A lot of focus is placed on the risk of osteoporosis and low bone mass in women, but men naturally lose bone mass as they age and are at risk as well. For the longest time the only way researchers could find to improve bone health was with supplements that contained calcium and vitamin D to reverse bone mass loss and strengthen them. But there may be other things you can do in combination with these nutrients, a new study shows that exercise programs that target weak areas can strengthen the bones and decrease the risk of osteoporosis in middle aged men.
The study lasted for a year and the participants had their bone health assessed at the start, 6 month mark, and 12 month mark. The regimen was for them to take calcium and vitamin D supplements and follow a weight lifting or jumping program for the duration of the year. These exercise programs would only take 60 to 120 minutes per week, could be done at home, required minimal equipment, and had rest weeks for participants’ bodies to rest. The exercises started at low intensities and were slowly increased over the year to adjust to the body’s increasing strength.
The results of the study showed that the participants had significant increases in their bone mass by 6 months and maintained the increased mass through the 12 month mark. However, only the bones related to the part of the body being exercised gained mass, meaning that exercising each part of the body is essential to improve total bone mass. The study placed specific focus on exercises that worked on the spine and hips, two of the most important bone structures that can decrease health when they’re weak. With time, as the muscles are used more the bones too experience the stress and grow stronger with the muscles so the body handle it better. With the calcium and vitamin D supplements working to improve the bones, the participants’ bodies were primed to rebuild bone density in response to the exercises.
This gives hope for those experiencing bone mass loss, using a safe, gradually increasing exercise regimen that targets the bones with calcium and vitamin D supplements can reverse the loss and improve bone strength. It is unclear if this method could help women too, but the potential is there and the more power people are given to help protect their bodies from the negative effects of aging the better.
By Samantha Dillon, DR Vitamin Solutions