One minute of daily exercise

Got a minute? Then you’ve got enough time to strengthen your bones.

So say British researchers who found that women who did daily 60- to 120-second bursts of high-intensity, weight-bearing exercise — such as running — had 4% better bone health than those who exercised less than that.

Scientists at the University of Exeter and the University of Leicester reached their conclusions by analyzing national health data on more than 2,500 women that compared fitness activity levels and bone health.

Strong bones are beneficial for a number of reasons, including a reduced risk of osteoporosis and fractures in older age.

More study is needed to determine cause and effect between exercise bursts and bone mass. “We can’t be sure whether the high-intensity physical activity led to better bone health, or whether those with better bone health do more of this exercise,” said the study’s lead author Victoria Stiles, a biomechanics expert at Exeter.

But, “there’s a clear link between this kind of high-intensity, weight-bearing exercise and better bone health in women,” she added.

Admittedly, 4% may seem like a small gain, but so is a minute of exercise. Researchers also found that women who exercised more than two minutes a day had a 6% bone-strength boost.

“We wanted to make every second count in our analysis,” said Stiles, “because short snippets of high-intensity activity are more beneficial to bone health than longer, continuous periods.”

JOE DZIEMIANOWICZ

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