This month's Bulletin contains new research about three simple actions that you can take to strengthen your bones to prevent and reverse osteoporosis.
First, we'll look at a study on the relationship between green tea consumption and bone health.
Next, you'll find out about a study that will have you jumping for joy. It reveals the potential of a specific type of exercise that strengthens bones.
Finally, we'll review new research that has identified big benefits from a tiny amount of weight lifting. You'll learn exactly what these participants did, and how much it benefited their muscle strength.
Green Tea And Osteoporosis
According to a new study published in the journal Nutrients, regularly drinking green tea may offer protection against osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Researchers combined information from a tea-consumption questionnaire to bone density scan results among 3,530 postmenopausal women.
“Women who consumed 1-3 cups of green tea daily had a lower prevalence of osteopenia and osteoporosis at all measured BMD sites. These women were also more likely to exercise regularly, binge drink alcohol (defined as drinking more than 5 glasses of alcohol more than once a week), and consume more coffee than the other groups.
Postmenopausal women who did not consume green tea or consumed less than 1 cup daily had higher probabilities of osteopenia in the lumbar spine or femur than women who consumed green tea between 1 to 3 times daily.
Women who did not drink green tea had the lowest dietary intake of calcium and those who consumed less than 1 cup of green tea per day demonstrated the highest protein and total energy intake.”1
These results may have occurred because the green tea drinkers were simply more likely to have other bone-healthy habits. Let’s bear in mind, however, that green tea contains polyphenols and flavonoids that decrease the activity of osteoclasts (which break down old bone) and increase the differentiation of osteoblasts (which build new bone tissue).
The properties of green tea mentioned above provide bone health benefits, which may be in part why green tea is chosen as a beverage by people who practice other bone-healthy habits.
While green tea does tout bone-protective flavonoids, it also contains a small amount of fluoride, a compound that has adverse effects on your body and bones. Therefore, moderation should be practiced– try to drink no more than three cups of green tea per day.
A study compared the green tea drinking habits of 3530 postmenopausal women to their bone mineral density (BMD) measurements. Women who drank between one and three cups of green tea per day had a lower prevalence of osteopenia and osteoporosis at all BMD measurement sites.
Six Minutes Of Jumping Each Week Builds Stronger Bones
According to a recently published study, just six minutes of jumping each week can prevent age-related bone loss. To reach this conclusion, Dr. Gallin Montgomery, a researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University, tested the effect of jumping exercises on 14 women in their fifties.
The research focused on the physical impact and strain of jumping on the participant's muscles. The study is based on the knowledge that higher-impact exercises apply greater pressure on bones. That pressure leads to increased bone growth and stronger bones.
“The women in the study got the best results from ‘counter-movement jumps’ – swinging their arms up to leap off the ground. This was closely followed by ‘box drops’ – jumping off an 8in box – and ‘heel drops’, which involve tiptoeing to your maximum height before dropping on to your heels.
The study did not measure bone density but the impact of landing on the floor during the exercises was significant. Combined with the strain on the women’s muscles, measured by electrodes, this is believed to be enough to strengthen bone. Similar measurements of muscle impact and force have been seen in previous studies.
Dr. Montgomery said the effects of the exercises equate to a net gain of around 2 per cent bone mineral density a year, which could be enough to ward off osteoporosis.”2
This research shows how different types of exercise have different impacts on our bodies.
Exercises that involve jumping provide a high-impact form of weight-bearing exercise that can help prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis by stimulating bone growth.
A researcher measured the physical impact of jumping on 14 women. The study concluded that the high-impact and muscle strain of jumping makes it an effective way to stimulate bone growth, thereby preventing age-related bone loss.
Lifting Weights For Three Seconds A Day Builds Muscle Strength
New research out of Australia and Japan has found that building muscle strength is possible with lifting weights for just three seconds a day.
The study included 39 healthy college students who each performed a three-second contraction of their bicep muscle at maximum effort for three seconds a day, five days a week, over four weeks.
The study divided the participants into groups that performed different types of bicep curls, isometric, concentric, or eccentric. When you perform a classic complete bicep curl– starting with the arm extended, contracting the muscle to lift the weight, then extending the arm back down to the starting position– you are combining all three types.
The concentric contraction is the motion of lifting the weight. The isometric contraction is holding the weight in the lifted position without moving it. The eccentric contraction is lowering the weight back down as you slowly extend your arm back to the starting position.
This study separated the movements so that the researchers could determine which part of the complete bicep curl was most effective at increasing strength.
“Researchers measured each person’s maximum voluntary contraction strength before and after the weightlifting program, as well as the strength in a group of 13 students who did not exercise at all for those four weeks.
Results show that performing just one eccentric bicep curl every day led to the greatest increases in muscle strength in comparison to the other two methods. Unsurprisingly, the group not exercising did not see any benefits.
“The study results suggest that a very small amount of exercise stimulus – even 60 seconds in four weeks – can increase muscle strength,” says lead researcher Professor Ken Nosaka”3
The group doing the eccentric bicep curl increased their strength by 11.5 percent– all from a total of 60 seconds of exercise over one month.
This finding indicates that even the shortest possible workout has a significant impact on muscle strength. As Savers know, muscle strength is essential for building bones, and stronger muscles both help you to avoid falls and stimulate new bone growth.
In a study of 39 healthy college students, researchers found that doing a bicep curl at maximum effort for three seconds a day for five days a week resulted in a significant increase in bicep strength after one month.
What This Means To You
As these studies show, small changes can add up to big results. Whether it's making healthier dietary choices or adding a few minutes of extra exercise to your day, the research is clear: even the smallest effort pays off.
That scalability means that you don't have to push yourself farther or faster than you're ready. The Save Institute created SaveTrainer with this in mind. SaveTrainer is a fully customizable online video workout platform. Not only do you have a wide variety of bone-strengthening anti-aging physical practices to choose from, but you can also tailor them to your ability level. That means you can do as much as you want, at the level you need, anytime you're able to.
If a few minutes of exercise can have such a significant positive impact on strength and growth, imagine how much you'll benefit from a SaveTrainer class that lasts seven, 15, or 30 minutes!
Building bone-healthy habits doesn't have to be difficult. Take it one small step at a time, and soon you'll be amazed at how far you've come.