Osteopenia and treadmill

Osteopenia and treadmill, is it effective in reversing bone loss? ONe would expect that using a treadmill for an exerciseprogram to improve bone density would be a good exercise treatment to reverse bone loss. One can walk, jog or run on a treadmill no matter what the weather and there are no problems dodging traffic or pedestrians. BUT the research shows that there is a question as to whether this would be an effective exercise program for reversing bone loss.

It would appear that Osteopenia and treadmill would be effective - all that pounding during jogging or running. But interestingly the research is mixed.

  • First a study showing positive effects: In 2004 there was a study done by researchers in Japan that tested the "Effect of Treadmill Exercise on Bone Mass in Female Rats"

    The researchers used young, adult, ovariectomized and osteopenic female rats for a treadmill exercise program and found that it increases cortical and cancelous bone mass of the tibia and increased mechanical strength of the femur. It decreased bone resoption in the young and adult rats and it increased bone formation in the post ovariectomized, osteopenic rats/ Lumbar bone increased with long term exercise was done.

    The researchers also offered hypotheses for these results in their paper. (If you would like to read the complete study, click

    The ABSTRACT of this study can be read here

Additional studies

Interestingly two additional studies seemed to show that the use of specific supplements made for positive effects on bone density:

  1. in 1998 the Journal of Bone Mineral Research published a study titled, Effects of Zinc Supplementation on Vertebral and Femoral Bone Mass in Rats on Strenuous Treadmill Training Exercise by C. Seco, M. Revilla, E. R. Hernández, . J. Gervás, J. González-Riola, L. F. Villa, Prof. Dr. H. Rico that showed zinc supplementation during the exerciseperiod alleviated the reduction in bone density during the exercise period.


    The hypothesis that a zinc (Zn) deficit may cause osteopenia in athletes is well founded. In rats exposed to strenuous exercise, we evaluated the effect of a zinc supplement on femoral and vertebral bone mass determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Four lots of 93-day-old female Wistar rats were studied. A control group of 30 rats were not manipulated (Zn– Ex– group). The experimental group of 40 rats was fed a diet supplemented with an additional 20% of Zn/kg of feed; this group was divided into two groups of 20 rats each, one that did not exercise (Zn+ Ex–) and one that did (Zn+ Ex+). A group of 15 rats exercised but did not receive a zinc supplement (Zn– Ex+ group). Training consisted of treadmill running for 5 out of 7 days over an 11-week period. Initial speed, running time, and treadmill speed were increased gradually. Analysis of variance with the Bonferroni/Dunn test showed that the length, weight, bone mineral content (BMC), and bone mineral density (BMD) of the femur were less in the Zn– Ex+ group than in the others (p < 0.008), and the weight, BMC, and BMD of the fifth lumbar vertebra also were lower in the Zn– Ex+ group than in the others (p < 0.008). These findings confirm the adverse effects of strenuous exercise (treadmill running) on bone tissue in rats and the effectiveness of zinc supplementation in preventing it." To read the full study, copy and paste this url into your browser: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1359/jbmr.1998.13.3.508/full

  2. Another Study: this one involving post menopausal women, showed that supplementation with Omega 3 appeared to reduce bone loss during treadmill training. The title was "Long-term aerobic exercise and omega-3 supplementation modulate osteoporosis through inflammatory mechanisms in post-menopausal women: a randomized, repeated measures study." Since this is the only study involving postmenopausal women I suggest that you at least read the ABSTRACT which you can reach by clicking on Osteoporosis, Osteopenia and treadmill

So for those looking for practical ideas it is clear that the research is mixed. It appears that Osteopenia and treadmill might be useful if one takes certain supplements. Otherwise it might be better to do a program with ankle weights.

Read more Osteopenia Exercises

Go to Natural treatments for Osteopenia, Osteoporosis