Study Reveals How Quickly Exercise Can Reduce Inflammation - Save Our Bones

Today we'll look at the results of a recent study that examined the effects of a short, moderate-intensity exercise session on cellular inflammatory responses. In other words, the researchers wanted to find out if short exercise sessions diminish inflammation.

The incredible study results shed light on the relationship between inflammation and bone damage, osteoporosis, and osteopenia.

We'll look at the nuts and bolts of inflammation and bone remodeling, and you'll learn how to use this study's findings to protect and strengthen your bones.

Acute Exercise And Inflammation

Multiple studies have shown that dietary choices can reduce systemic inflammation. But a recent study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity by researchers from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine, posited that even a short, moderate-intensity (acute) session of physical activity would reduce inflammation.

They tested this hypothesis by asking 47 participants to walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes at a rate that constituted moderate exertion for each participant. The researchers took blood samples before and after the exercise sessions to test for levels of tumor necrosis factor cytokines (TNF).1

TNF is a protein secreted by cells of the immune system to perform a particular function. One of TNF's core functions is signaling for the body to amass inflammatory cells. This function can be useful, as when the body needs inflammatory immune cells to fight off an infection. But too much inflammation causes unwanted health conditions, contributing to diabetes, obesity, arthritis, fibromyalgia, Crohn's disease, and osteoporosis.2,3

When the researchers tested the participants' blood samples, they found that 20 minutes of moderate exercise reduced the number of cells that produce TNF by 5%.1
In one of the study authors’ own words:

“Our study shows a workout session does not actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects. Twenty minutes to half an hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient.” 1


Researchers found that 20 minutes of moderate exercise was enough to decrease damaging inflammation.

Inflammation and Bone Health

Studies have linked inflammation to damaged bones and to excessive bone loss, leading to or worsening osteoporosis and osteopenia. There are a number of cytokines and other inflammatory proteins that regulate both the immune response and bone resorption. As a result, the activity and proliferation of immune cells during inflammation affects the bone remodeling process carried out by osteoclasts (the cells that remove old bone) and osteoblasts (the cells that deposit new bone).3

For example, C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sensitive marker of systemic inflammation, present in people with immune and inflammatory diseases. Studies have linked elevated CRP levels to low bone mineral density.3

RANKL is a TNF-family molecule that plays several roles in the immune system, such as regulating T cell/dendritic cell communication and lymph node formation. RANKL is also part of the development and activation of osteoclasts and the stimulation of bone resorption.3

RANKL is so important for bone resorption that Big Pharma has created drugs like Prolia (denosumab) that interrupt RANKL's function to reduce bone resorption, in an attempt to increase bone mass.4 However, the interruption of the bone remodeling process, just as with bisphosphonates, leads to unhealthy bones that are riddled with microcracks and weakness.5

Inflammation causes RANKL expression and the proliferation of cytokines that cause accelerated bone resorption. This molecular co-incidence of inflammation and bone loss underscores the importance of exercising on a regular basis to reduce inflammation and support bone remodeling.


The proteins that cause inflammation also interfere with the creation and activation of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, causing bone loss.

Reduce Inflammation To Protect Your Bones

Now that you know about the anti-inflammatory power of a moderate 20-minute workout, you have another simple, repeatable, strategy for reducing inflammation and protecting your bones. That's one more reason why you should never take osteoporosis drugs that artificially alter the bone remodeling process.

Regular weight-bearing exercise is already a core component of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. This study confirms that Savers are on the right path to staying strong and fracture free.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Christina

    Thanks for all the information you share.
    A few questions about this article; are there any results how long the TNF suppression lasted after exercising, does the body compensate over time if one exercises regularly and the exercise becomes less helpful in suppressing the TNF?

  2. Susan

    I do not like making online purchases. I understand there is another way to make the purchase. Also, I am confused. If this is a 4 week exercise plan, what do you do next? That doesn’tmake sense to me.
    Thank you for your response.

  3. Melanie Nesbit

    You go Dora! I’ll bet you’re a ball of fire with such a dynamic attitude.

  4. RUTH

    Walking is so painful. I have been trying for years to resume normal walking but the discomfort is intense after a short walk of 1/2 a city block. I do aquatics exercise several time a week and walk away more crippled than before. It takes me several days of rest to recover and try again. Still working with PT and a trainer to overcome the complicated causes of pain.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I’m so sorry that you’re having aches and pain, and we all admire your perseverance. Keep it up and don’t give up!

  5. sima aron

    I would like to get these books but refuse to give my card over internet
    Is there a number to call?

    • Save Institute Customer Support

      Please check your inbox within the next 24 hours for a message from us addressing your question. We look forward to helping you!

  6. Marcia Riley

    I have a question about Osteogenesis. My sisters are going once a week to Osteostong clinics where they spend 10 minutes , once a week, applying pressure to increase their trigger points. They claim this works. Please address this process. Is it real or a scam?

  7. Jude Paskoski

    After 5 years in Boniva & 5 years on Prolia I have decided to get off all drugs. Is it too late for me to start building new bones? Has anyone done this successfully? Thanks.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’ve made the right decision, Jude! As Barbara wrote below, you can reverse osteoporosis and osteopenia when following a bone-healthy diet and engaging in targeted exercises.

    • Barbara

      I took the drugs for 8 years. After two years of the Savers diet and exercise, I have progressed from osteoporosis to osteopenia and anticipate a continued slow but steady climb upward. I’m 70 years old. It’s not too late.

  8. Ita

    Thank you, Ita.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Ita!

  9. Katie Tennant

    My worry is : how much exercise is too much? How do I know if I am overdoing it, and causing too much inflammation (and therefore bone loss)?

    Too little will not stimulate bone growth; too much might be counterproductive.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Exercise sessions designed to improve bone health can be as short as 15 minutes to up to one hour. If you are concerned about causing inflammation when you work out, you can also add anti-inflammatory smoothies and other foods to your post-workout diet. That topic and recipes are available in the Densercise Eating Guide, which is included in the Densercise Epidensity Training System.

      • Katie Tennant

        Thanks for the reply 🙂 !

        My gym expects me to do a 90 minute session 3 times per week (first 20 minutes is a warm up, and some time is spent transitioning between the next four blocks, but it’s still quite a long time). Classes are at 10 am.

        The exercises are typical weights (goblet squats, trap-bar lifts, push-ups, bar-bell glute bridge, bar-bell chest-supported row, 1-arm dumb-bell floor press, various lat pull-downs, landmine press etc).

        I drink 1 litre of diluted coconut water (50/50 with tap water) during my workout, then afterwards I race home and eat 130g of chicken and a whole avocado. Often I need a nap in the afternoon!

        Do you think this is too much?

        On the other days I am often up little hills with my dog, at least an hour of proper hiking up and down.

        Any comment gratefully received!

  10. Marc Bell

    Hello Rose

    It is never too late for anybody. You just have to start.

  11. Rose McKinney

    I would like to save my bones through diet and exercise. However, I believe it is
    too late for me.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      It’s never too late! Savers in their 80’s have reversed osteoporosis with exercise and diet. Take a look at these testimonials:

      So get started now and you’ll be on the road to better bone health and overall health!

    • Dora Heys

      I am 92 next week, and go to a class every week locally and enjoy it very much, it is never too late to start and enjoy it, we all have some thing wrong with us, but one must keep going. so it is never too late, there is always someone worse than you are, and you think how lucky you are you can do more than they can.

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