Every time your feet pound the pavement while running this spring, think about all the bone density you’re building. Believe it or not, high-impact exercise is good for you, the New York Times Magazine reports.
According to a study from researchers at the University of Bristol, subjecting bones to abrupt stress helps them add mass. Data was gathered from male and female adolescent subjects wearing activity monitors. Those who experienced impacts of 4.2 Gs or greater had sturdier hip bones. Further research found that the only way to generate 4.2 Gs is to run at least a 10-minute mile or jump onto and down from a box at least 15 inches high.
The only bummer: Women age 60 and older in the study never reached 4.2 Gs of force during their exercise, meaning they were unable to build bone density. The good news? High-impact exercise might still help adults maintain bone mass, says Dr. Jon Tobias, a professor of rheumatology at the University of Bristol who led the experiments.
Another study originally published in Frontiers in January found that women between age 25 and 50 who hopped at least 10 times twice a day, with 30 seconds between each hop, significantly increased their hip bone density after four months.
The takeaway: Run and jump fast and hard; your hips will thank you.