A common misconception the populous has been fed is that one simply has to walk or do modest training exercises to increase bone strength.
BIG LIE. In fact, exercise has little to no recorded effect on one’s bone strength.
Unfortunately, a majority of health sites prevalent on the Internet have promoted this lie, assuring a number of viewers that it will immediately result in strong bones.
However, quite a number of osteoporosis professionals know that this advice does not have any credible info to back it up.
This misconception might have sprung up from a well-known and recorded the fact in the field of medicine. That people who are bedridden naturally lose bone mass. Wait a minute. So do astronauts who spend plenty of time weightless!
So it goes without saying that the pull of gravity could be the biggest determinant when it comes to bone strength.
That being said, is there a given threshold to which bone strength ceases to increase with the effect of gravity? Studies have yet to determine so.
Debunking the misconception
The truth was revealed a little more than a decade ago when scientists performed rigorous studies correlating exercise to increased bone density in adults. In the experiment, they used DEXA machines; which are machines that measure bone density by exposing the bones to X-rays. The end results of the study were crystal clear.
The studies found that only 1 percent or less had a notable bone increase, thus showcasing that exercise had no significant effect on increased bone mass.
Scientists took their investigation further by using more sensitive equipment to test bone density on a microscopic scale. It was still reported that exercise had a very minuscule effect on bone density. In fact, only the cortical shell, which is the outer layer of the bone, appeared to get thicker when weight-bearing exercise came into play.
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Hence, all that can be said is that if exercise does indeed build bone, it does not build much of it. Which isn’t to say that exercise doesn’t protect bones in another way. For example, in the elderly, exercise was found to significantly reduce the risk of getting fractures.
Artificial bone mass increase
At this point, the only thing that has been proven to effectively increase bone mass are injections of parathyroid hormone, and in some special cases, the drug abaloparatide.
Drugs that are extremely popular such as Fosamax have been shown to reduce the rate of bone loss, but have no effect when it comes to building bone.
However, this should not encourage those who put their faith in exercise. There is still a glimmer of hope. Though exercise might not make bones stronger and denser, exercise might make bones healthier thanks to a factor known as bone quality. There is still not enough research to precisely define what bone quality is
However, it is clear one of the factors that explains why some people appearing to have strong bones can still get fractures while those having weak bones can rarely get fractures.