"Our study demonstrates that exercise when young may reduce the risk of fractures later in life, and the old exercise adage of 'use it or lose it' may not be entirely applicable to the skeleton," said the study's principal investigator, Stuart J. Warden, assistant professor and director of research in physical therapy at the Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at IUPUI.
Researchers exercised the right forearms of 5-week-old female rats for a few minutes three times a week for seven weeks. The left forearms were not exercised. Bone quantity and structure of the rats' right and left forearms were assessed before and after exercise. Researchers did not exercise the rats for the next 92 weeks -- virtually their entire lifespan. At that point, their forearm bones were assessed again for bone quantity and structure, as well as strength.
All procedures were performed following approval of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Indiana University.
"We knew that exercise increases bone size and strength, and that the skeleton is most responsive to exercise during the crucial growing years around puberty when you reach adult size and strength," Warden said. "We also knew that bones are not as responsive to exercise when you are older."
What was not known, however, was if the skeletal benefits of exercising while young would last a lifetime, Warden said. In other words, he said, "can you use activity while young to offset the risk of osteoporosis, or the risk of bone fractures, later in life""
The study determined the answer to that question is, "Yes," Warden said.
The researchers found that the rats retained all of the skeletal exercise benefits they obtained while young even though they hadn't exercised for the rest of their lives, Warden said.
"We found the exercise resulted in a lifetime increase in bone size in the right forearms of the rats and the bones of the left forearms never caught up in size," he said.
How big a bone is determines how resistant it is to bending, or how strong it is, he said.
As humans age, bone loss occurs from the inside surface of the bone outward, Warden noted. Exercising while young lays down additional outside layers of bone. This results in a bigger bone than otherwise would be the case.
"With more bone layers on the outside, you have more bone to lose," Warden said.
By making the right forearm bones bigger during growth in their study, the researchers found these bones to be stronger, or more resistant to fracture, than left forearm bones despite exercise being ceased a lifetime ago.
The study demonstrates the importance of childhood exercise that stimulates the skeleton, like basketball or jumping, Warden said. Short periods of exercise several times a week are all that is needed to stimulate bone development in children, he added.
The message to older adults, however, remains the same. Even though the best time to gain lifetime bone health benefits is while people are young, exercising when people are older is essential to maintain bone mass and balance, as well as maintain aerobic fitness, all of which aid in reducing the risk of low-trauma (osteoporotic) fractures associated with aging.
A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy