Lifting weights is the best form of exercise for people on a plant-based diet wanting to strengthen their bones, new research has found.
Veganism can be associated with lower bone density and increased risk of fractures, the researchers said, though little research has been done to establish forms of exercise which will best combat the issue.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism on 4 August found that vegans who do resistance training once a week have better bone health than those who cycle, swim or do other forms of exercise.
The most beneficial forms of exercise include machine-work, lifiting free weights, or bodyweight resistance training.
For at least five years, the researchers studied data from 43 men and women on a plant-based diet and 45 men and women on omnivore diets.
The findings from the small-scale study reavealed that vegans who did resistance training had similar bone structure to omnivores.
Dr Christian Muschitz, of St. Vincent Hospital Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, said: “People who adhere to a vegan lifestyle should perform resistance training on a regular basis to preserve bone strength.
“Veganism is a global trend with strongly increasing numbers of people worldwide adhering to a purely plant-based diet.
“Our study showed resistance training offsets diminished bone structure in vegan people when compared to omnivores.”
A separate study from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) published in March 2021 also found that, on average, people following a vegan diet had lower ultrasound values compared to the other group, which indicates poorer bone health.
The Vegan Society estimated 600,000 people in the UK adhered to the diet in 2019, around 1.21 per cent of the population.