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Medical experts know that exercise can strengthen the bones of people who are at risk for osteoporosis. New research suggests that even a minor level of physical activity can decrease the likelihood that premenopausal women will screen positive for the bone-wasting disease, which may be detected through a lab test.
As women age, hormonal shifts can have a negative effect on the health of their bones. In order to investigate the benefits of physical activity among premenopausal women, a team of scientists from King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia conducted an experiment that included more than 1,200 women, some of whom took part in an eight-week exercise course. The researchers followed up with 58 subjects who engaged in the program, and compared them to 62 who did not.
Results showed that among those who had as little as two hours of extra physical activity per week, levels of serum sclerostin in the blood were lower while IGF-1 levels were higher, compared to those who had less exercise.
Sclerostin is a substance associated with the inhibition of bone formation. The opposite is true of IGF-1.
"Physical activity training is conceptually simple, inexpensive, and can serve practical purposes including reducing the risk of low bone mass, osteoporosis, and consequently fractures," said researcher Mohammed-Salleh M. Ardawi, Ph.D., FRCPath.
Women who are concerned about their bone health can take a lab test that measures markers of osteoporosis in their urine.
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