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30 January 2006 PR 06/10

Hop your way to stronger bones

Volunteers are needed for a new Loughborough University research project which aims to discover if simple hopping exercises, taking just a few minutes each day, can help increase bone density.

One in every three women in the UK over the age of 50 is likely to develop osteoporosis; a condition where bone mass is lost, leaving bones fragile and susceptible to fracture. It has already been proven that exercise can increase bone density and so help to reduce the risk of fractures in later life. However, not just any kind of exercise works. The most effective types are those that exert high forces on the skeleton.

Previous research has found that jumping significantly increases bone mineral density in young women. But a recent study by Dr Katherine Brooke-Wavell and Christine Bailey, who are based in the University’s Department of Human Sciences, found that hopping produced even more force than jumping. The researchers are now investigating whether a series of hopping exercises can also increase bone density, and how often these exercises must be carried out to be effective.

Women between the ages of 18 and 45 are currently being recruited for the study and anyone interested in taking part is asked to contact Christine Bailey by calling 01509 228159, or Dr Katherine Brooke-Wavell on 01509 222749.

Speaking about the research Dr Brooke-Wavell said: “This is an exciting project which could tell us how best to maximise bone strength through exercise and so reduce the likelihood of future osteoporosis. The hopping exercises volunteers will be asked to do for the study will be easy to fit into their daily routine, as they can be done at home in just a few minutes without the need for any special equipment.”

Findings from the research will be valuable in determining how to improve bone strength with the minimum amount of exercise.


For further information contact:

Notes to editors

Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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