Let's face it - most things one can do to help prevent osteoporosis are generally pretty boring. While taking supplements of calcium and Vitamin D is great for you, it's not terribly exciting. But I just came across a fun article that advocates jumping - off the couch, a box or whatever - as a way to help increase bone density in the hip, and perhaps stave off osteoporosis later on. (Take a look at www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1208489106256590.xml&coll=7)
The Oregon State study tracked hundreds of grade school students assigned to jump fifteen minutes three times a week for a school year and compared their sturdy skeletons to their non-jumping counterparts for years afterward. Apparently it's not just the exercise one does to go up in the air that helps strengthen bones, but landing with force at several times one's body weight. The bone-building effect has been previously observed in gymnasts and is thought to benefit other jumping athletes as well.
The article indicates that the study reported no injuries whatsoever in the countless jumps completed in the research investigation. I'll try to remember that the next time my kid attempts a perilous-looking leap from the jungle gym. Though of course, those who already have osteoporosis or osteopenia should probably stick to the calcium, Vitamin D and lower impact exercise options!
Published On: April 20, 2008