Osteopenia and treadmills

Osteopenia and treadmills. Is this effective for reversing bone loss?  Some time readers ask me about using treadmills as part of their bone building program.  

They really like them. After all you can walk, jog or even run on a treadmill no matter what the weather AND there are no problems dodging traffic or pedestrians.

BUT the research seems to give mixed results about using treadmills for bone bone building.

First ,I found a study done a study done in 2004 that showed  positive effects.  It was done in Japan , 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  

They found that the exercise decreased bone resorption (removal) in the young and adult rats and it increased bone formation in the post ovariectomized, osteopenic rats. Lumbar spine bone increased with long term exercise.  (If you would like to read the complete study, click  The ABSTRACT of this study.

Then in 2011 The journal Biomedical Central published another study on "The influence of long-term treadmill exercise on bone mass and articular cartilage in ovariectomized rats".

This study found no real effect on bone density from treadmill running, that that there was some positive effect on cartilage. Click to  read the complete study about  Osteopenia and treadmills

What we need to remember

We need to remember two things:

First thing to remember is that in both these studies the laboratory rats were running....not walking.  (Even with that the bone density improvement was not uniformly guaranteed)

Remember that when running  there is a certain pounding on our bones. The bones are stressed. And we know that it is stress on our bones that provoke our osteoblasts to greater activity....and we build more bone.

Second thing to remember is that long distance runners, like cyclists tend to have low bone density. Yes, you read the correctly.  Maybe it is the case that long distance anything is not good for our bones.

(If you want to read the first report on the negative effects of running, you will find it towards the end of the March 2007 NEWSLETTER Osteopenia Updates 

Practical ideas

For for those looking for practical ideas it is clear that the research is mixed. It appears that Osteopenia and treadmill might be useful if you run on the treadmill and you takes certain supplements.

If you are looking for a treadmill - because you want to jog or run at home (and not have to join a Sports club) you can do well:

- Finding that unique sports item has never been easier at OnlineSports.com

 Otherwise you might want to do an exercises program using ankle weights.

Or even take up the practice Tai Chi, which has been shown to improve balance (and so reducing the possibility of falls/broken bones) AND Tai Chi has been shown to increase bone density. (This page about Tai Chi includes a link to an easy to follow program.)

Read more about effective Osteopenia Exercises

Go to Natural treatments for Osteopenia, Osteoporosis