How to protect the hip from fractures – new research
July 9th 2005
Courtesy of NIH
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may help prevent hip fractures in the elderly, according to new research
in the July 9th edition of Lancet Medical Journal.
Researchers found that the thin cortical zone of the upper femoral neck
became substantially thinner with age. Walking does not substantially
improve the load bearing capacity of the hip. Other exercises are
recommended, including bicycling, sculling, gymnastics and weights.
The new research by
Dr. Paul M. Mayhew and his colleagues at Cambridge University is based
on CT scans of 77 femurs of deceased people between 20 and 95 years of
age. The researchers found that as people age the upper femur becomes
thinner. Substantial thinning of the cortical layer in the neck of the
bone that connects the hip ball to the rest of the thighbone was seen.
has found Weight resistive exercises can prevent bone mineral loss.
Earlier research has also found that excessive repetition does not
substantially prevent bone loss. In fact animal studies show the first
40 repetitions of an exercise stimulate greater than 95% of bone
formation. Additional repetitions do not significantly increase bone
It has been
estimated that the body loses tensile strength and elasticity of bones
by about 2% per decade from age 20 to 90 years (Hayes 1986). The new
research narrows the bone loss to the hip region. In women, cortical
thickness fell by a staggering 6.4% per decade, and slightly less for
men. This is important because weight bearing capacity is related to
the thickness. Bone is only one fifth the weight of steel but can
withstand two times the compression force as granite, or four times the
compression force as concrete.
Not all doctors agree on the best type of strength training exercises.
Always check with your doctor before beginning a regimen. Some common
hip strengthening exercises include side lifts, Hip Flexion, Straight
Leg Raises, Hip Adduction and Hip Extension. Many
of these exercises can be found at Nismat.org, along with diagrams.
Pilates has become very popular in recent years. Pilates offers some
exercises that may benefit hip strength. The prone opposition arm/leg
raise using a ball will extend the hip. Similar exercises can be found
Best Syndication Staff Writer