Practising weight-bearing exercises such as resistance training and various types of jumps may increase bone density in men, a new study has found.
These exercises decrease sclerostin, a protein made in the bone, and increase IGF-1, a hormone associated with bone growth. The changes promote bone formation, researchers said.
Researchers from University of Missouri-Columbia in the US split men aged 25 to 60-years who had low-bone mass into two groups.
One group performed resistance training exercises such as lunges and squats using free weights. The other group performed various types of jumps, such as single-leg and double-leg jumps.
After 12 months of performing the exercises, researchers compared the levels of bone proteins and hormones in blood.
“We saw a decrease in the level of sclerostin in both of these exercise interventions in men,” said Pamela Hilton of University of Missouri-Columbia.
“When sclerostin is expressed at high levels, it has a negative impact on bone formation. In both resistance and jump training, the level of sclerostin in the bone goes down, which triggers bone formation,” Hilton said.
Researchers also observed an increase in the hormone IGF-1. Unlike sclerostin, IGF-1 triggers bone growth.
The decrease of harmful sclerostin levels and the increase in beneficial IGF-1 levels confirmed the prior research that found both resistance training and jump training have beneficial effects on bone growth.
While exercises such as swimming and cycling are beneficial to overall health, these activities do not strengthen the skeleton, Hilton said.