Hop to it Grandad!

While hopping for bone health might sound a little crazy, it has proven to be a highly effective and achievable way of managing bone thinning associated with ageing.

One of the most common concerns that come with ageing is the reduction of bone strength. As we age our bones become more brittle and prone to fracturing, and this can lead to more serious health problems such as osteoporosis.

One in three women over the age of 50, and one in five men experience osteoporotic fractures. New research has uncovered an easy and quick way of preventing and managing this condition.

The Hip Hop study from Loughborough University in the UK has discovered that regular high impact exercise can help counteract the effect of ageing on our bones. The study measured the effects of short bursts of daily hopping on bone density in men and found that regular bursts of hopping or jumping strengthen hip bones, thereby reducing the risk of fracture following a fall.

The study involved 34 men over the age of 65 who participated in two minutes of hopping each day over the course of one year. Hopping was chosen as the focus of the study, rather than other forms of high impact exercise such as jumping or skipping, because it allowed researchers to compare the results between the exercised hip and the non-exercised hip.

The results showed a seven per cent increase in bone mass in parts of the exercised hip’s outer shell or cortex, as well as increases in the density of the layer of bone under the cortex. According to Katherine Brooke-Wavell, lead researcher at Loughborough, these findings demonstrate that, over time, short and concise hopping or jumping exercises that target specific regions of the hip can increase bone strength and reduce the threat of hip fractures.

Sarah Allison, from Loughborough’s National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, explained that hip fractures are a major public health concern among older adults, causing those affected to suffer pain, loss of mobility and independence, and a higher risk of death. These findings are therefore highly significant as they could help prevent and manage conditions such as osteoporosis, which is responsible for almost 9 million fractures worldwide each year.

Source: Journal of Bone and Mineral Research