Exercise May Protect Men’s Bones
Study Shows Middle-Aged Men Who Stay Active Suffer Fewer Broken Hips
June 20, 2007 -- Broken bones may be often associated with sporting
injuries, but a new study shows that playing sports actually reduces the risk
of broken bones over the long haul.
Swedish researchers followed a group of middle-aged men for 35 years and
found those who were most active throughout their lives were least likely to
suffer broken hips or other broken bones.
For example, men who lived a sedentary lifestyle were two and a half times
more likely to have a broken hip compared with men who exercised vigorously or
participated in sports at least three hours a week.
The researchers note that previous studies have linked exercise to lower
risk of hip fracture in women. But this research suggests that men’s bones may
also benefit from regular physical activity.
Preventing Broken Bones
In the study, Karl Michaelsson, MD, and colleagues at University Hospital in
Uppsala, Sweden, surveyed a group of more than 2,000 men aged 49-51 in the
early 1970s about their exercise habits and how much of their leisure time was
spent engaged in physical activity. They were asked the same questions again at
age 60, 70, 77, and 82.
The men were divided into three categories, according to their physical
- Sedentary: little or no physical activity.
- Moderate activity: those who occasionally walked or cycled for
- Active: those who participated in sports for at least three hours per
The results showed that 482 men had at least one broken bone and 134 broke a
hip during the course of the study. But there were big differences among the
By the end of the study, 21% of the sedentary men had broken their hip
compared with 13% of those who were moderately active and 8% of those who were
While moderate activities, like bicycling or walking for pleasure, did offer
some benefits, researchers found participation in sports appeared to provide
the biggest bone protection.
Based on these results, published in PLoS Medicine, researchers
estimate that one-third of hip fractures among older men could be prevented if
men participated in sports activities regularly.
- Ready to jump back
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