Study Finds Exercise Reduces Bone Loss During Lactation

New moms lose significantly less lumbar spine bone mineral density and lean body mass
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Lactating women who participate in a resistance and aerobic exercise program may experience less bone loss, according to a study published in the October issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Cheryl A. Lovelady, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, and colleagues randomly assigned 20 women at four weeks postpartum to either an exercise program consisting of three days per week of weight-bearing aerobic exercise and three days per week of resistance exercise or no exercise.

After 16 weeks, the researchers found that the exercise group lost significantly less lumbar spine bone mineral density than the control group (4.8 versus 7 percent), as well as less lean body mass (0.7 versus 1.6 kg). They also found that the exercise group increased its maximal strength for all exercises by 34 to 221 percent, while the control group had maximal-strength changes of −5.7 to 12 percent.

"Additional research is needed to determine whether these beneficial effects of exercise continue after weaning, resulting in higher bone mineral density and decreasing the risk of osteoporosis in later life," the authors conclude.

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