Nearly a Third of Men Are 'At Risk of Osteoporosis'. Here's How to Avoid It

Daniel Davies
Photo credit: Tetra Images - Getty Images

From Men's Health

We all know the benefits running and resistance training can have on our cardiovascular system and our strength, but a new study has suggested these training methods may also be crucial for fighting osteoporosis.

A study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association has found that in a sample of 173 men and women, 28 per cent of men had osteopenia - a precursor to osteoporosis - compared to 26 per cent of women.

Although, the scientists acknowledged the small sample size, they also noted how surprising the results are, particularly because the debilitating condition, which affects around three million people in the UK, has up until this point been more commonly associated with women, and specifically post-menopausal women, than men.

"We typically associate loss of bone mineral density with post-menopausal women, but our findings showed elevated risk in younger men," said Dr Martha Bass, who led the research, to the Telegraph.

"Almost all participants who were found to have osteopenia were surprised and I think this is a more prevalent issue than anyone expected."

The scientists concluded that the best way to maintain bone mineral density was to engage in weight-bearing exercises, like walking and running, while moderate resistance training was also found to be beneficial.

In the study, the majority of male participants reported that they cycled, but while activities like cycling and swimming are good for our cardio, they don't necessarily help strengthen bones.

Additionally, the NHS does recommend people eat foods rich in vitamin D and calcium as a way of preventing osteoporosis, but the researchers say that calcium's benefits, in particular, may have been exaggerated.

"Calcium plays a larger role when bones are still developing," said Bass. "After that, the body begins to rely on weight-bearing exercise to keep bones strong,"

So if you want to keep your bones strong, sign up to a 10k or start getting serious about hitting the weights room.

"It really does boil down to use it or lose it," says Bass.

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