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Think you should slow down as you get older? Think again!

Muscle strengthening exercises are important for building bone strength and preventing osteoporosis, but new research shows that even just 10,000 steps a day can help to keep bones strong.

The study, involving Newcastle University and published today in the Journal of Public Health, found that people in their 60s who spent a lot of time sitting down had weaker bones which increased their risk of developing fragility fractures.

The researchers also found that men spent more time sitting still than women and therefore had weaker bones, particularly in their lower back.

This is the first study to show that a sedentary lifestyle in men is associated with weaker bones and osteoporosis.

Over half a million fragility fractures - where a fracture occurs from a fall at standing height or less – happen each year in the United Kingdom. It is estimated that by 2025, that number will have gone up by 27%.

The research was carried out by academics from Newcastle and Durham Universities. The team followed 214 men and women aged 62, from Newcastle University’s Thousand Families Study.

Dr Fraser Birrell, Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University, said: “This work shows the value of understanding healthy ageing and studying what actually happens in the population.

“The Newcastle Thousand Families study was initiated by Sir James Spence in 1947 and is now helping us understand the onset and progression of musculoskeletal disease.

“Now most phones and watches count steps, this type of information is directly relatable to the public, who can use it to motivate themselves and their families towards a healthier lifestyle."

Each study participant wore a monitor for seven consecutive days which measured their physical activity and sedentary time. The number of daily steps was also recorded, and then compared with public health recommendations.

The participants’ hips and spines were scanned to measure their bone density. Participants involved in 150 minutes of light physical activity a week had better bone strength than the more sedentary participants.

 

To read the full article please visit the Newcastle University website.

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