A single minute of high-intensity exercise, like running, each day is linked to better bone health in women.

This is according to new research from scientists from the University of Exeter and the University of Leicester.

The researchers found that those who did “brief bursts” of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity equivalent to a medium-paced run for pre-menopausal women, or a slow jog for post-menopausal women, had better bone health.

Using data from UK Biobank, the researchers found that women who on average did 60-120 seconds of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity per day had 4% better bone health than those who did less than a minute.

We would suggest adding a few running steps to the walk, a bit like you might if you were running to catch a bus

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“We don’t yet know whether it’s better to accumulate this small amount of exercise in bits throughout each day or all at once, and also whether a slightly longer bout of exercise on one or two days per week is just as good as one to two minutes a day,” said lead author Dr Victoria Stiles, of the University of Exeter.

Over 2 000 women studied

Researchers looked at data on more than 2 500 women.

They compared activity levels (measured by wrist-worn monitors) with bone health (measured by an ultrasound scan of heel bone).

As well as finding 4% better bone health among women who did one to two minutes of high-intensity, weight-bearing exercise, they found 6% better bone health among those who did more than two minutes a day.

Start walking first

As a suggestion for anyone interested in increasing their day-to-day levels of activity, Dr Stiles says, “The UK’s National Osteoporosis Society recommends increasing your walking activity first.

“Further on, we would suggest adding a few running steps to the walk, a bit like you might if you were running to catch a bus.”

Good bone health has multiple health benefits, including a reduced risk of osteoporosis and fractures in older age.

Source: University of Exeter via www.sciencedaily.com

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