High-impact Exercises Boost Bone Health in the Hip but Not in the Spine, Study Finds

Woman doing step aerobicsUK researchers examined just how beneficial brief high-impact exercise is on bone health in premenopausal women.

The results of their study were published online in late September 2011in an article called “A meta-analysis of brief high-impact exercises for enhancing bone health in premenopausal women.” It will be published in the journal Osteoporosis International.

A total of 6 randomized trials were included in the meta-analysis. Researchers conducted a structured and comprehensive search of databases to gather relevant studies that were both published and unpublished up to January 2011.

In addition, the quality of the trials included varied from medium to high on a scale of 1 to 3. Trial quality was evaluated using a quality assessment tool called the Effective Public Health Practice Project.

Short bursts of high-impact exercises (<30 minutes) were assessed for their overall impact on bone mineral density (BMD) in premenopausal women.

Study outcomes for analysis, absolute change (grams per square centimeter), or relative change (in percent) in BMD were measured at 3 locations:

  • femoral neck
  • trochanter
  • lumbar spine

These were compared by calculating the standardized mean difference (SMD) using both fixed and random effects models.

Study results indicated that short bouts of high-impact exercise led to:

  • significant increases in BMD in the femoral neck (SMD=0.64, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.38, 0.90, overall effect Z value=4.84, p=0.001)
  • a modest increase in BMD in the trochanter (SMD=0.36, 95% CI=0.10, 0.61, Z value=2.08, p=0.04)
  • no increase in BMD in the spine (SMD=0.04, 95% CI=-0.23, 0.31, Z value=0.26, p=0.79)

At the end of the study, researchers found that brief periods of high-impact exercise improved BMD in the hip but not in the lumbar spine. They also determined that overall effectiveness of high-impact exercise for osteoporosis prevention should be investigated in larger populations.

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