For stronger bones — jump!

by CynthiaYockey on November 15, 2009

Thanks to Little Miss Attila, I was browsing the New York Times and came across a piece on new research on what exercise is best for making your bones stronger — the last I heard it was weight-lifting and weight-bearing exercises, but newer research has a different recommendation:

… the current state-of-the-science message about exercise and bone building may be that, silly as it sounds, the best exercise is to simply jump up and down, for as long as the downstairs neighbor will tolerate. “Jumping is great, if your bones are strong enough to begin with,” Dr. Barry says. “You probably don’t need to do a lot either.” (If you have any history of fractures or a family history of osteoporosis, check with a physician before jumping.) In studies in Japan, having mice jump up and land 40 times during a week increased their bone density significantly after 24 weeks, a gain they maintained by hopping up and down only about 20 or 30 times each week after that.

If hopping seems an undignified exercise regimen, bear in mind that it has one additional benefit: It tends to aid in balance, which may be as important as bone strength in keeping fractures at bay. Most of the time, Dr. Barry says, “fragile bones don’t matter, from a clinical standpoint, if you don’t fall down.”

Uhhh — what do you suppose they did to get the mice to jump?

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  • I seem to recall hearing back in the 80’s that very early studies showed that ballet dancers scored really high in bone density. This would certainly explain those findings.
    Maybe folks could get their hopping done just by joining a dance class. Doesn’t have to be ballet; could be jazz or modern. They hop, too.
    More fun than hopping alone.
    .-= Lynne´s last blog ..The Perfect Storm? =-.

    • Lynne,

      From the Japanese mouse study, it seemed like seven jumps a day would be enough to make a positive difference. I suppose if you really get into it all you need is a jump rope and — at my age — an industrial strength support garment, if you catch my drift. I wonder if there’s a YouTube of someone singing, “The Bunny Hop”? Because it’s more fun to hop to a silly tune.

      Cynthia

  • I R A Darth Aggie

    what do you suppose they did to get the mice to jump?

    Attached electrodes to their testicles and…do I really have to draw you a picture??

    😉

  • Would a pogo stick work? There’s still impact. Or a mini-trampoline? Just curious.
    I only mention dance classes because it would keep the downstairs neighbors from complaining and because very often local groups sponsor “senior”-type fun dance classes at the Y and so forth. Just applying the sugar-coated pill theory to the research, I guess.
    But then I have sort of a dance background, so to me this is just a good excuse for more dancing at my age.
    Maybe this is the video you need: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbAsyoGnUSk
    (Do you remember this tune?)
    .-= Lynne´s last blog ..The Perfect Storm? =-.

  • Well, if anyone needs some inspiration to start ’em hopping, I recommend watching these gals- they call themselves the Firecrackers.
    (Not to worry; totally G-rated.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2WK44cH2J0&feature=related

    Truly amazing and fun!
    .-= Lynne´s last blog ..The Perfect Storm? =-.

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