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Men should hit the gym for better bone health

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Engaging in weight-bearing exercises such as resistance training and various types of jumps can help men protect their bone health. PICTURE: Supplied

Engaging in weight-bearing exercises such as resistance training and various types of jumps can help men protect their bone health.

One year of targeted exercise can decrease harmful sclerostin, a protein made in the bone, and increase IGF-1, a hormone associated with bone growth. These changes promote bone formation, increasing bone density, said the study published in the journal Bone.

"People may be physically active, and many times people know they need to exercise to prevent obesity, heart disease or diabetes," said Pamela Hinton, Associate Professor at University of Missouri in Columbia, US.

"However, you also really need to do specific exercises to protect your bone health," Hinton said. 

In the study, men 25-to-60-years-old who had low-bone mass were split 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, Hinton then compared the levels of bone proteins and hormones in the blood.

"We saw a decrease in the level of sclerostin in both of these exercise interventions in men," Hinton said. "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," Hinton explained.

The other significant change Hinton observed was an increase in the hormone IGF-1. Unlike sclerostin, IGF-1 triggers bone growth. 

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