Exercising burns the fat found within bone marrow and this process improves bone quality in a matter of weeks, says a study.
The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, also suggests that obese individuals – who often have worse bone quality – may derive even greater bone health benefits from exercising than their lean counterparts.
“One of the main clinical implications of this research is that exercise is not just good but amazing for bone health,” said lead author Maya Styner, Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US.
“In just a very short period of time, we saw that running was building bone significantly in mice,” Styner said.
Although research in mice is not directly translatable to the human condition, the kinds of stem cells that produce bone and fat in mice are the same kind that produce bone and fat in humans.
In addition to its implications for obesity and bone health, Styner said the research also could help illuminate some of the factors behind bone degradation associated with conditions like diabetes, arthritis, anorexia, and the use of steroid medications.
The research shows it is possible to use exercise to reverse some of the effects on bones.
“With obesity, it seems that you get even more bone formation from exercise. Our studies of bone bio-mechanics show that the quality and the strength of the bone is significantly increased with exercise and even more so in the obese exercisers,” Styner said.