Regular strength and punch training can counteract bone aging

Regular strength and impact training can reduce or even prevent age-related bone loss in men, new research from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland shows. The tibial bone properties of middle and senior male sprint athletes were followed for over 10 years. The study presents new insights into maintaining the adaptability of the aging skeleton and the importance of regular intensive training for maintaining bone health.

Part of the age-related bone loss can probably be explained by decreased physical activity. Particularly intense, bone-loading exercise typically decreases with age. “

Tuuli Suominen, PhD student, Gerontological Research Center, Faculty of Sports and Health Sciences, Jyväskylä University

High-intensity strength, sprint and jump training also have a positive effect on the bones in old age. However, the ability of such training to prevent or reduce age-related bone loss remains unclear as no longitudinal studies have been conducted on the subject.

The link between regular strength and sprint training and bone aging has been investigated in a larger research program at the Gerontological Research Center and the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at Jyväskylä University, Finland. A total of 69 men aged 40 to 85 years took part in the follow-up part of the study. At the beginning of the follow-up, all men trained and competed actively.

The tibial bone properties of the participants were examined by computer tomography at the start of the study and after 10 years. The associations of the training status with the longitudinal bone changes were investigated in two groups: in athletes who had regularly continued strength and sprint training and in athletes who had reduced their training load.

The study showed that regular strength and sprint training was associated with preserved or even improved tibial bone properties, while those athletes who had reduced their training load had decreased bone properties over the 10-year follow-up period. The positive effects of the training were most evident in the trabecular bone density and in the cross-sectional geometry of the tibial shaft, which supports the benefits of both push training and strength training.

“Although the intensive training of athletes as such is not possible for all aging people, strength and strength training is highly recommended at every age, regardless of functional status,” says Suominen. “In the present study, the benefits of high-impact training were most evident in middle-aged people, while strength training can be effective in maintaining bones in older populations. Muscle strength and strength are also very important in preventing falls and related fractures . “

The study was part of a larger research program called the Athlete Aging Study, which looked at the effects of long-term exercise on the aging of the musculoskeletal system and physical performance. The study was funded by the Academy of Finland, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Peurunka Rehabilitation Center, the Ellen and Artturi Nyyssönen Foundation, the Juho Vainio Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation, and the Alfred Kordelin Foundation.


Jyväskylä University

Journal reference:

Suominen, TH, et al. (2021) Regular strength and sprint training counteracts bone aging: a 10-year follow-up for male Masters athletes. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

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