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Answers to your hopping questions

By Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD

One of the reasons this bone health community is so much fun for me is the participation of readers like you!  From adding insight on the topics to sharing your experiences to catching typos, I know I can count on you.  Hearing from you is truly rewarding!

My recent blog on hopping was a great example.  I received so many questions and comments from hoppers — as well as non-hoppers — that I thought I would share them:

Question:  What if I can’t hop?

Answer from Dr. Brown: First, as several readers emphasized, hopping is not for everybody!  If you would like an alternative to hopping, I suggest walking down the stairs. The weight you put on your legs as you step down actually increases bone.  Walk down the stairs consciously and perhaps with a little bit of extra thud.  Oh yes, heel drops are also a nice alternative to hopping. They can be done gently or with more force.

Special note:  See my video at the end of this blog for more about how to hop.

Question: What about a rebounder?

I've recently started using a rebounder. I bounce 300 times, and I do shift from leg to leg for part of the time. Hopping is too painful for me because I apparently don't have much padding in my heels any longer and I have fibroids in my arches. Do you think bouncing on the rebounder will give me the same bone building benefits?  — Heather

Answer from Dr. Brown: A rebounder is a wonderful exercise to increase the circulation of blood and lymph, but it does not provide the impact that is necessary to seriously stimulate bone. In fact, the rebounder is meant to limit the impact and make the contact softer. It still great exercise to do though, so keep it up!

Question: Do you know if shoes can be worn while hopping?  — Jan-Marie

Grace, a reader, shares her experience: I have been doing some hopping and jumping and appreciate this regimen.  From my experience, I would suggest shoes SHOULD be worn for this.  When I started, I was having some heel issues, but eventually that went away.  I couldn't overdo it at first, so my advice is start slowly and yes to shoes.

Answer from Dr. Brown:  Jan-Marie: yes, wearing sneakers can be helpful when hopping, especially when hopping on hard surfaces. As Grace shared, it may be essential for those with knee issues. Listen to your body.  Personally I always wear shoes when hopping.

Question: Would jumping rope 100 times each day have the same benefit? — Gail

Answer from Dr. Brown:  Jumping rope is a nice high impact exercise. While it is possible jump rope with just one leg, I don't think it would be a safe option for most people due to the tripping hazard. If you enjoy jumping rope anyway you do it, continue to do so. As a high impact exercise, it too can provide benefits for bone health similar to hopping,

Thank you for all of your wonderful questions.  As you can see, we have a lot to learn from each other.  Other great places to take part in the conversation are my Better Bones Facebook and Twitter pages.  Please join us!

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We created the Better Bones blog as our forum to express opinions and educate the public about natural means of supporting and improving bone health and overall wellness. As part of this forum, we sometimes discuss medical issues and medications, and their effects on bone health in general. However, we cannot advise readers about specific medical issues in this forum. If you wish to obtain advice from Susan E. Brown, PhD, about your specific bone health and nutritional concerns, please visit our Consultations page. Other specific medical questions should be referred to your healthcare provider.


June 2. 2015 16:52

Is it safe to do hopping if you have had surgery of the L-4L-5 for Spinal Stenosis?  

Bonnie Weiss

June 21. 2015 21:28

My doctor told me that hopping could lead to hairline fractures of the hip or spine. I'm 62 and in pretty good shape. I do a lot of walking, pilates and would like to do more. Do you think the hopping is safe regarding possible hairline fractures? Thanks.


June 24. 2015 12:16

Hi Sonia,

From Dr. Brown: For the average healthy woman, hopping should not cause any hair line fractures. However, your doctor may know something we do not know about your particular condition. I suggest you judge for yourself whether hopping is safe or not, given the factors in your health history. Be well!

Thank you for your comment!

BB Blog Admin

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