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Try Rebounding to Improve Bones

Posted Jan 20 2010 12:00am

The health news today is that the experts have spoken and found that sitting is dangerous for your health. I actually said that in my last blog post. I’m ahead of the experts once again. :-)

They say that sitting for four hours or more tells your genes regulating the amount of glucose and fat in the body to shut down. If you have to sit at a desk or computer for any length of time then get up and walk a little bit every hour or so.

I have long advised people to set the timer so they get up every hour to bounce on a rebounder. Even one minute will get your lymph system flowing and remind your body you are still alive. Two minutes is even better. If you rebounded for two minutes every hour you would be on the way to great health.

In a group of articles, published as a special section of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, Dr. Daniel W. Barry, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, at Denver said “There was a time, not so long ago,” when most researchers assumed “that any and all activity would be beneficial for bone health.”  He is a researcher who has studied the bones of the elderly and of athletes. He had to readjust his research when a group of unexpected findings, some showing that competitive swimmers had lower-than-anticipated bone density, competitive cyclists sometimes had fragile bones and, finally, that weight lifting did not necessarily strengthen bones much. In one representative study from a few years ago, researchers found no significant differences in the spine or neckbone densities of young women who did resistance-style exercise training and a similar group who did not.

“If you stretch bone cells” in a Petri dish, says Alexander G. Robling, an assistant professor in the department of anatomy and cell biology at Indiana University School of Medicine and the author of one of the articles in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, “you have to stretch them so far to get a response that the bone would break.”  So he and many other researchers now maintain that bone receives the message to strengthen itself in response to exercise by a different means. He says that during certain types of exercise, the bone bends, but this doesn’t stretch cells; it squeezes fluids from one part of the bone matrix to another. The extra fluid inspires the cells bathed with it to respond by adding denser bone.

Professor Robling and others say, only certain types of exercise adequately bend bones and move the fluid to the necessary bone cells. An emerging scientific consensus seems to be, he says, that “large forces released in a relatively big burst” like landing on a rebounder are probably crucial. The bone, he says, “needs a loud signal, coming fast.”   For most of us, weight lifting isn’t explosive enough to stimulate such bone bending. Neither is swimming.  Running can be, but the runner has to put up with the continuous shock of the feet hitting a hard surface which could be very damaging.  Although for unknown reasons, running doesn’t seem to stimulate bone building in some people.

Also, as I’ve said in previous posts, too much endurance exercise may reduce bone density.  There are ongoing studies to try to determine why this is but some researchers think it is losing calcium in sweat that robs the bones.

In the meantime, the current state-of-the-science message about exercise and bone building may be, as I’ve said for years, that the best exercise is to simply jump up and down on a rebounder. Rebounding increases the G-Force loading on every cell of the entire body about one hundred times a minute.  That means that every cell; skin, muscle cells, ligaments, cells of vital organs and even the bone cells have to adjust to an increased G-Force.  “Jumping is great and you probably don’t need to do a lot either.”

According to articles on the Reboundair site, where I found a lot of this information, you only have to rebound for twenty minutes a day to get the benefit to your bones. If you did that in small increments throughout the day you would also get your butt out of a chair long enough to prevent giving your body the message that you need a little more personal padding on your seat.

Also rebounding will improve your balance. Most of the time, Dr. Barry says, “fragile bones don’t matter, from a clinical standpoint, if because of better balance you don’t fall down.”

It’s raining like crazy here in California. No walks on the beach this week. If I didn’t have my rebounder I would be going stir-crazy.

Roll up, roll up, get your fresh rebounders here and now. Anyone who buys a rebounder after seeing this article will get a free bottle of pH strips as well (mention the article in the comment section of the shopping cart).

Pam

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