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05.05.2022


The combination of exposure to sunlight and walking makes your bones significantly stronger

If your bone mass is no longer what it should be, but your doctor still doesn't want to push you through all kinds of medicines, go for a daily walk. During the day, when the sun shines. According to a small human study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, the combination of walking and sunlight significantly strengthens your bones.


The combination of exposure to sunlight and walking makes your bones significantly stronger


Study
Korean researchers, affiliated with Kyunggi University, experimented with several dozen people aged 61-73, who, according to scans, were in a preliminary stage of osteoporosis. They didn't have osteoporosis, to put it in medical jargon, but they did have osteopenia.

The Koreans divided their subjects into four groups. The first group, the control group, did nothing at all, except take a supplement containing 600 milligrams of calcium and 800 units of vitamin D3. All subjects took that supplement.

The subjects in a second group went outside for 20-30 minutes three times a week during the 24 weeks that the trial lasted, and exposed the face, arms and legs to sunlight. The researchers hoped that exposure to sunlight would increase vitamin D levels, which would make bones stronger.

Subjects in a third group went for a 30-60 minute walk 3 times a week. The subjects walked in the evening after the sun had set. Walking puts a strain on the bones in the lower body and makes them stronger. The Koreans hoped that this would also happen to the test subjects.

A fourth group went for a walk during the day. This group would benefit from both sunlight and exercise, the researchers suspected.

Results
The vitamin D level went up in all groups, but only the increase in the subjects who were exposed to sunlight really made a difference.


The combination of exposure to sunlight and walking makes your bones significantly stronger


The bone mass of the subjects in the control group did not change, but increased in the sun exposure only-group and the night-time brisk walking group. This was even more the case with the daytime brisk walking group.

The table below is simplified. Click it for a full version.


The combination of exposure to sunlight and walking makes your bones significantly stronger


Source:
J Bone Miner Metab. 2022 Mar 26. doi: 10.1007/s00774-022-01317-7. Online ahead of print.

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