Muscle strengthening exercises are important for building bone strength and preventing osteoporosis, but new research shows that even just 10,000 steps a day can help to keep bones strong. The study, involving Newcastle University and publish in the Journal of Public Health; find that people in their 60s who spent a lot of time sitting down; which had weaker bones which increase their risk of developing fragility fractures.
The researchers also find that men spent more time sitting still than women and therefore had weaker bones; particularly in their lower back. This is the first study to show that a sedentary lifestyle; hence in men is associate with weaker bones and osteoporosis.
Fracture occurs from a fall
Over half a million fragility fractures where a fracture occurs from a fall at standing height or less happen each year in the United Kingdom. It is estimate that by 2025; so that number will have gone up by 27%. The research was carry out by academics from Newcastle and Durham Universities. The team follow 214 men and women aged 62; hence from Newcastle University’s Thousand Families Study.
Now most phones and watches count steps; so this type of information is directly relatable to the public; who can use it to motivate themselves and their families towards a healthier lifestyle. Each study participant wore a monitor for seven consecutive days which measure their physical activity and sedentary time. The number of daily steps was also recorded, and then compare with public health recommendations.
The participants’ hips and spines were scan to measure their bone density. Participants involve in 150 minutes of light physical activity a week had better bone strength; so than the more sedentary participants. The men who spent more than 84 minutes per day sitting still; so compare to the average of 52 minutes, had 22% lower bone density in their spine.
Personal costs of osteoporosis
The economic and personal costs of osteoporosis are substantial in the UK the direct costs of fragility fractures are estimate to be £.4.4 billion which includes £1.1 billion for social care. The participants in the study all live in Newcastle, and Public Health England statistics indicate that the North East of England has the greatest proportion of physically inactive adults and the highest incidence of hip fractures compare to the rest of the UK.
The take away message from the researchers is: stay active and reduce sedentary time. The study shows that hitting the daily target of 10,000 steps and avoiding long periods of sedentary time will increase bone strength. They say that even making daily lifestyle hacks can make a difference, such as parking the car further away from the shopping centre or taking the stairs instead of the lift.
Dr. Karen Hind, from the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University, who led the study, said: “Currently there are no specific guidelines for this age group to encourage light physical activity or to reduce sedentary time. It will be great to see initiatives that specifically target this group to increase their awareness of the importance of staying active and reducing the amount of time spent sitting still.