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: Finding Puts New Emphasis on the Benefits of Jogging



From: David A Gabel, ENN
Published March 29, 2011 10:05 AM

Finding Puts New Emphasis on the Benefits of Jogging

Since the fitness revolution, physical activity has been promoted as an effective way to combat obesity and heart disease. Currently, walking is the number one recommended activity among both the young and old. However, new research from the University of Bristol has found that running and jogging are also important for building strong bones in children. It has also found that gentle exercise like walking has little effect on bone strength, even over a longer period. Walking offers little protection against the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

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The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, examined the daily physical activities of 1,748 15-year old boys and girls. To do so, they were asked to wear a physical activity monitor for one week. The recorded data was compared to the thickness of each individual's shinbone (tibia). The physical activity readings were categorized as light, moderate, and vigorous.

The researchers found that vigorous activity like running, jogging, and playing sports are associated with thicker bones. The top 25 percent of individuals involved with vigorous physical activity had bones that were seven square millimeters greater than the bottom 25 percent. However, the top and bottom percentiles of those who engage in light physical activity such as walking showed no difference in bone thickness.

The point to take away from this study is that it is important, from an early age, to engage in vigorous physical activity in order to prevent bone problems later in life. Children should be encouraged to run around and play sports. Habits such as sitting around, watching TV, and playing video games should be discouraged, because it does young bodies a disservice when they get older.

It is a child's natural instinct to run around. At the early stages of our lives, we all have (or feel we have) much more energy, and that energy should be released. However, for adults, it is important to choose the correct vigorous physical activity so that it does not interfere with other health issues. For example, adults with bad knees can take long distance bike rides rather than jogs. Or people with bad backs can go swimming at a neighborhood fitness center or in their backyard pools. Maintaining a vigorous workout throughout our lives will help prevent osteoporosis. On the other hand, walking, while still a healthy activity, has little effect on bone health.

Link to published article: http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/jc.2010-2550v1

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