120 minutes a week to healthy bones

How often have you used the excuse “I don’t have time” for not exercising? Even if you start off with the best of intentions, exercise plans often seem to fall by the wayside when time gets crunched. Even for people like me who make exercise a priority, lack of time can get in the way of the best laid plans, as I found out recently when I over-scheduled trying to take advantage of a intriguing educational opportunity.

red_boots_iStock_000012038483XSmallBut there’s encouraging news even for those with limited time, according to a recent study focusing on the impact of exercise on bone health. As little as 120 minutes a week — or only a bit more than 17 minutes a day — of walking or other physical activity helps reduce the hormone sclerostin, an inhibitor of bone formation. What’s more, the bone-strengthening benefits were seen in women in the years leading up to their menopause transitions — a critical window of opportunity for bone health!

My favorite ideas for sneaking in two hours of physical activity in a week

• Take a long hike with your family and friends.

• Rake leaves, prepare the yard for winter, pick fall produce.

• Run (or walk) to do your errands – literally!

• Use the stairs whenever possible. Even going down the stairs helps build bone.

• Set an alarm on your computer or phone for “movement time.” When it goes off, take a walk around the block or do some stretching exercises.

• Decide it is okay to be “inefficient” with some household chores. I know one woman who walks her laundry out to the clothesline in small batches to add some extra movement to her day.

• Try doing an activity for five minutes – even when you don’t want to. Many of my patients tell me that once they commit to just five minutes, they end up continuing for much longer, as well as enjoying it!

What are some of your favorite options for adding more movement into your daily routine?



Ardawi MSM, et al. 2012. “Physical activity in relation to serum sclerostin, insulin-like growth factor-1, and bone turnover markers in health premenopausal women: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study” J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2012; 97(10): DOI: 10.1210/jc.2011-3361. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22865898 (accessed 08.06.13)


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