By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
That’s really not asking a lot, and the benefits will surprise you! Almost everyone can exercise for two minutes a day, and if you keep it up for years, you’ll strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of fractures.
A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research showed that hopping for two minutes per day can significantly reduce the risk of hip fracture in older people.
Osteoporosis is a major worldwide problem. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation someone in the world has an osteoporotic fracture every 3 seconds. As we age, our bones get thinner. In the hip bones, this thinning can lead to a higher risk of hip fractures. Fracturing a hip can cause a significant deterioration in health for an older person and shorten their lifespan.
Researchers from Loughborough University in the UK conducted what they called the Hip Hop study. It showed that regular high impact exercise can help to counteract the effects of aging on bones. The researchers asked 34 men over the age of 65 to hop for 2 minutes every day for one whole year. The men only hopped on one leg, so the bone density of their other leg could be used for comparison.
The results were quite impressive. Bone mass increased by up to 7 percent in areas of the exercised hip’s outer shell (cortex). The participants also experienced increases in the density of the layer of spongy bone underneath the cortex. The beneficial effects were also seen in the thinnest parts of the hip bone; these are the areas most likely to suffer a fracture during a fall.
Exercise is so vital for maintaining bone strength and mobility as we age. Hopping for two minutes each day is achievable for most people, as long as it’s done in a safe way to minimize the risk of falls. If you are not able to hop, try raising yourself up onto your toes and then dropping down onto your heels with a thud. That is also considered weight bearing exercise and can improve bone density if done consistently over the long term.