Bone density and bone loss becomes a concern for the majority of Americans who live past the age of 50 -- that's currently about 44 million people who experience mobility problems and increased mortality. Even in less severe cases there is definitely a reduction in quality of life and the kind of exercise you can do. If you are or plan to live past 65, osteoporosis and hip fractures are a serious problem (JAMA Report). The NY Times just did an article summarizing recent studies:
Although the number of hip fractures has declined in recent decades, the study found that the 12-month mortality rate associated with the injury still hovers at more than 20 percent, meaning that, in the year after fracturing a hip, about one in five people over age 65 will die.
Exercise has long been thought one of the best ways to prevent bone loss, but recent studies show not all exercise is beneficial. Swimming, competitive cycling, and weight-lifting don't seem to help and may even hurt. No one knows exactly why, but one possibility for finding bone loss in swimmers and cyclists is the intensity of their training. Long, high-intensity training sessions could result in lowered blood calcium levels due to calcium loss through sweating. This makes calcium supplementation very important to endurance athletes along with Vitamin D.
So, what does work? JUMP UP AND DOWN.
The bones apparently need a strong, fast impact to signal for increased bone development. Brisk walking is one of he best choices for older people whose bones are more delicate. For those wishing to maintain their bone density levels, jumping up and down is the simple answer. And, you don't need to do it for long -- 20-30 times.