Doctors have typically recommended a combination of low impact exercises, high impact exercises, and resistance training as ways to combat osteoporosis. But now it seems one of those methods is proving more effective than the others.
Although it’s not recommended for everyone, high impact activities like running have a more positive effect on bone mineral density, or BMD, than other activities, according to a new study by the University of Missouri.
Researchers of the study found that, of the various kinds of exercises, high impact sports have the greatest effect on bone mineral density. The other recommended exercises still improve BMD, but the benefits of high-impact activities stood out as the most beneficial.
One reason is because those activities involve different kinds of movement combined with impact, instead of targeting specific areas. Weight-bearing exercises, on the other hand, only strengthen the bones in the areas involved, not the entire body. So working out one area of the body leaves the rest at risk. Other examples of sports that combine impact with movement include basketball, volleyball and soccer.
The findings don’t mean you shouldn’t mix up your exercise routine. Researchers of the study confirmed the benefits of weight-bearing exercise and resistance training on bone health. And if your workout regimen doesn’t already include these activities, they recommended adding them to the mix. Resistance training doesn’t just help build bone density in specific areas, it also increases lean body mass. Although the study finds that it’s not as significant as incorporating high impact activities into your workout, building lean body mass is another essential component of bone health.