Hopping for 2 minutes a day may reduce risk of hip fracture

Brief, daily bouts of hopping or jumping can strengthen hip bones and reduce the risk of fracture following a fall, suggests a new study of older men.

Bones get thinner with age. In the hip bones, this causes localized thinning, which is linked to higher risk of fracture.

The Hip Hop study from Loughborough University in the UK shows that regular high impact exercise can help counteract the effect of aging to the bone.

Published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the study measured the effect of short bouts of daily hopping on bone density.

The researchers invited 34 men over the age of 65 to hop for 2 minutes a day for one year. The men hopped only on one leg, so the other leg could be used for comparison.

Bone mass increased by up to 7% in parts of the exercised hip’s outer shell or cortex. The results also showed increases in the density of the layer of spongy bone under the cortex.

These effects were also seen in the thinnest areas of the hip bone – the parts that are most likely to suffer a fracture during a fall.

The findings could help to prevent and manage osteoporosis, a disease that is responsible for more than 8.9 million fractures worldwide every year, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture every 3 seconds, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

Exercises incorporated movements in different directions

First author Dr. Sarah Allison, from Loughborough’s National Center for Sport and Exercise Medicine, says:

“Hip fractures are a major public health concern among older adults, incurring both high economic and social costs. Those affected suffer pain, loss of mobility and independence, and increased risk of death.”

“We know exercise can improve bone strength,” she adds, “and so we wanted to test a form of exercise that is both easy and quick for people to achieve in their homes.”

  •  American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • The Arthroscopy Association of North America
  • Arthritis Foundation National Office
  • OREF
  • Orthopaedic Research Society
  •  American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • American Medical Association
  • The Orthopaedic Education and Research Foundation of Southern California (OSI Foundation)
  • Orthopaedics