Spanish researchers have analyzed the effect of training in runners on the bone stiffness index, a means of characterizing bone quality. The results of this study show that the greater the distance traveled, the healthier the bones. Running would be, according to scientists, a good way to prevent the decline in density of bone mineralization that we observe with age.
Different bones from one individual to another
In healthy people, the quality of the bones mainly determined by the density of mineralization, depends on various factors such as sex, age, ethnicity or diet. Bone health can, however, be altered by lifestyle changes such as regular exercise.
A study, led by researchers from Camilo José Cela University (UCJC) in Spain, has shown how training to prepare for runs of 10km or more can alter the mechanical properties of the calcaneus, an important bone in the foot. which gives shape to the heel.
Several runners studied
Changes in the mechanical properties of this bone were measured using the stiffness index, a method to assess bone and calcaneal density in this specific case.
During the study, a bone densitometry or bone density test was performed on the 2 feet of 122 marathon runners (42.195 km), 81 half marathon runners or 10 km races. The scientists compared the values obtained in these runners with a control group of sedentary participants of a similar age.
Running is good for the bones!
The results showed that the endurance runners had a higher stiffness index than the sedentary group. The increase in the stiffness index in runners was observed in both men and women. It was also possible to confirm a relationship between the distance traveled and the effect, in other words the more kilometers the athletes traveled, the more the mineral densification of the calcaneus increased. Scientists believe that running can be an interesting method to help prevent the progressive decline in bone mineralization that occurs with age.
The best sports to improve bone quality
Positive changes in the quality of bone mineralization can be induced by mechanical stimulation in relation to the load carried by the bone. For example, certain sports activities that require significant force such as weight lifting or with a significant impact such as jumping are the best activities for increasing the density of bone mineralization.
Sports like swimming or skating, in which the impact of body weight is reduced, do not generate an osteogenic effect.
In the case of running, the number of contacts with the ground and the different forces involved in runners could be the cause of the increase in bone mineralization density.
Beatriz Lara: Influence of endurance running on calcaneal bone stiffness in male and female European runners. Journal of Applied Physiology