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Take Notice Men: Strength Training for Better Bones

Men, as well as women, are prone to lose bone mass as they age, and it’s a widespread concern: studies have shown that 2 million men in the U.S. have osteoporosis and 16 million more have low bone mass. That can change with targeted exercise, report researchers at the University of Missouri. They assigned 38 physically active middle age men who had decreased bone mass in the hip and spine to a yearlong program of either jumping or strength training for 60 to 120 minutes per week. Results showed that bone mass of the lumbar spine and throughout the body significantly increased after six months on either program, although bone density in the hip increased only among the men who completed the weight-lifting program. Lead researcher Pam Hinton explained that “only the bone experiencing the mechanical load is going to get stronger, so we specifically chose exercises that would load the hip and the spine, which is why we had participants do squats, deadlifts, lunges and the overhead press.” The increases in bone strength seen after six months of the exercise program were maintained at the one-year mark, the researchers reported. Dr. Hinton noted that the exercises can be done at home and require minimal equipment. Throughout the study the men also took calcium and vitamin D supplements.