The Hip Hop study investigated the effects of hopping on bone mass in men over 65.
Bones mass declines with age and bone loss and localised thinning at structurally important regions of the hip can predispose to osteoporotic hip fractures.
The study used hopping exercises so changes in the exercised leg could be compared to those in the control leg. The study involved bone density scans and clinical CT scans to assess changes in the 3D structure of the bone.
Although we would not recommend hopping exercise for people with osteoporosis, this study is important for demonstrating that brief exercises can improve bone density even in older people and also further benefit bone strength.
The findings suggest that exercise could be used to target bone gains in areas of structural weakness. Further study found that the exercises also increased hip bone density in postmenopausal women.
One concern of the public is that this sort of exercise could “damage joints” so we also did MRI scans of the knee joint and found that the exercise did not affect cartilage or MRI changes related to osteoarthritis.
The study was supported by a Medical Research Council interdisciplinary bridging award and a National Osteoporosis Society Innovative Award.
For further information on exercise for maintaining bone health, please visit the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) website.