World-first study shows running can keep the bone marrow young

March 19, 2018

Drs. Guy Trudel and Adnan Sheikh helped lead a world-first study that found running can keep the bone marrow young. At birth most of the bone marrow produces blood cells, but as a person ages it turns into fatty tissue. This negatively affects blood cell development and can contribute to anemia and osteoporosis. The study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research is the first to show that regular exercise can slow down or stop this process in the spine. The study included 101 men and women aged 25-35 years who were either long-distance runners, habitual joggers, high-volume cyclists or sedentary. The researchers found that running was the most effective way to keep spine bone marrow young. For every nine kilometers a person ran per week, the bone marrow was one year younger. Cycling did not have the same effect, which may be because it does not put the same kind of stress on the spine.

Authors: Daniel L Belavy, Matthew J Quittner, Nicola D Ridgers, Adnan Sheikh, Timo Rantalainen,Guy Trudel.

Funders: This research was possible because of generous donations to The Ottawa Hospital for Research to Improve Patient Care. The researchers have also received support from the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University.

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