If you are a woman under fifty keeping a job, a home or both in this demanding, fast-paced, stressed-out life, chances are that you do not have the time, energy or willingness to step out for a walk or jog on the treadmill or pick a pair of dumbbells at the end of the day. So how often do you really get any physical workout in the week?
We all know that some physical training a couple of times in the week is desirable to keep our cardiovascular, nervous and bone health in good condition, yet we are not too sure on how much exactly is good enough and one which will make a difference to our health and take us from where we are to the positive side of the scale.
Recent research coming in from Center of Excellence for Osteoporosis Research and Faculty of Medicine at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia has it that even a ‘little’ physical activity for premenopausal women goes a long way in protecting and maintaining their bone health.
Getting as much as only 2 hours across the whole week is enough to make a difference! This much exercise could be translated to just half an hour every other day of the week, say, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
This study has been published in the August issue of the medical periodical, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM) and it suggests that just this much physical activity reduces the production of a chemical called sclerostin and encourages the manufacture of IGF-1. (1)
Sclerostin is a protein produced by a star-shaped bone cell called osteocyte chiefly found in mature bones. It’s main function is inhibit or stop the production of bone so that the forming bones are of the right shape, mass and size. Sclerostin can also encourage self-destruction of bone cells. (2) Upon release, sclerostin travels to the surface of the bone where it inhibits the creation of cells that help bones develop.
IGF-1 stands for Insulin-like Growth Factor. It is a hormone which is produced by the liver and it promotes growth and prevents programmed cell death. Though excessive IGF-1 causes abnormal growth of body’s bones and mass tissues, it’s deficiency leads to stunted growth of bones and bone weakness. (3)
According to Mohammed-Salleh M. Ardawi, PhD, FRCPath and a professor at the research facility of the University, “Physical activity is good for bone health and results in lowering sclerostin, a known inhibitor of bone formation and enhancing IGF-1 levels, a positive effector on bone health. We also found physical activity training that enhances mechanical loading in combination with anabolic therapeutic agents will have added positive effect on bone health, particularly bone formation.” (4)
The study selected at random 1,235 premenopausal women. The researchers followed up 58 of these women over a period of 8 weeks with physical activities built into their daily routines. The whole population was also measured for bone mineral density, sclerostin and IGF-1.
At the end of the study post data collection and analysis, it was found that women with as little as 2 hours of physical training in the whole week had significantly lower levels of serum sclerostin and higher IGF-1 levels than those women who got lesser than 2 hours of physical training during the whole week.
We know that physical workouts can be kept simple and inexpensive keeping the weather in mind. All you need is a pair of good walking or jogging shoes and a bottle of water. If you are up to it, you can take Fido along with you. So put on your walking shoes and take a walk for your bones!