Ups and Downs of Exercise for Women’s Bone Health

Ups and Downs of Exercise for Women’s Bone Health (

[Medpage Today, 3/26/19]

Uphill versus downhill treadmill walking makes a difference in trial

Walking downhill on a treadmill within an hour after eating produced a large osteogenic response in postmenopausal women with diabetes — an effect not seen with uphill walking, a researcher said here.

In a randomized, partial-crossover trial,

women who exercised downhill for 40 minutes had increased levels of C-terminal propeptide of type I collagen (a marker of bone formation) relative to no-exercise control and to walking uphill, reported Katarina Borer, PhD, of the University of Michigan, and colleagues.

Women exercising downhill also had reduced insulin resistance to high-carbohydrate meals compared to women exercising uphill or sedentary women, demonstrated by Homeostatic Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) scores, she reported here at ENDO 2019, The Endocrine Society meeting.

“Even if you are postmenopausal and you have low estrogen, or you’re diabetic and your bones are more fragile, the bone is still alive and is responding to exercise,” Borer told MedPage Today. “But not any exercise, at any time, and not regardless of your prandial state.”

In this study, 15 women were assigned to participate in two of five experimental conditions: no exercise, walking uphill before a standardized meal, walking uphill after the meal, walking downhill before the meal, and walking downhill after the meal, on a treadmill that could be tilted upward or downward as desired. Borer and colleagues created an “osteogenic ratio,” which they defined as the level of CICP over the level of c-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX), a marker of bone resorption.

As expected, women assigned to walk uphill exerted a greater mean effort than women in the downhill group (75.2% vs 47.9%), whereas the downhill condition created a 38% greater strike force as measured with a shoe insert. This increased mechanical loading helps mitigate the loss of bone mass, Borer said.

“Intuitively, you’d think you’re working harder going uphill and that it’s going to be more beneficial, but actually you are unloading the bones because you’re working against gravity,” Borer said…….

Read the Full Article at: Medpage Today

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Stay Strong,

Jaelin Stickels, CNM, WHNP

Owner, SHEis & Holistic Heritage, Spring, TX


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