Q. How often do you need to exercise to lessen bone loss?
A. German researchers attempted to answer that question by studying exercise frequency and bone mineral density over 16 years in 137 postmenopausal women with osteopenia. The findings appeared in the August 2016 issue of Bone.
Half of the group was enrolled in a supervised exercise intervention that consisted of two group sessions and two home training sessions a week. Women in the other half of the group were instructed to maintain their present lifestyle.
For the exercise intervention, each 65-minute group session included a mix of aerobic dance, weight-bearing exercise, and resistance training. The 25-minute home session consisted of a warm-up followed by 10 to 15 minutes of vigorous exercise, concluding with five minutes of stretching.
Bone mass density decreased significantly at the spine and hip in both groups, but the loss was much less in the exercising group than the sedentary group, particularly in the early years after menopause. The researchers found that at least two exercise sessions a week are required to lessen bone loss.
Unfortunately, there is a tendency to stop exercising with advanced age or lack of motivation. If you tend to be sedentary, look for engaging ways to move more, such as participating in dance classes, aqua aerobics, and tai chi. Your bones will thank you for it.