BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Endurance sports such as running and race walking are popular and have a number of health benefits. However, some endurance athletes, particularly runners, have been shown to have low bone mineral density (BMD). Low BMD is linked with a higher risk of fractures. At present it is uncertain why some endurance athletes have these bone problems. It is also uncertain whether they are losing bone too early in life. This is mainly because there have been very few studies that have monitored bone density over a period of time. There are even fewer studies in male athletes than female athletes.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY?
The purpose of the study is to identify the most prominent factors that influence BMD in long distance runners and race walkers over a 9 month period. This will be achieved by measuring BMD at the start of the study and after 9 months, together with measures of body composition (% fat and muscle), genetics, bone loading patterns during treadmill exercise, muscle strength, diet and hormone levels. These measurements will tell us if these athletes have lower than normal BMD, whether they are losing bone prematurely and the reasons for changes in BMD. We intend that our findings will help inform athletes to balance their lifestyle and keep their bones healthy.
I am looking forward to the study. One of the tasks I have to carry out this week is ti record not only exercise, but a thorough record of everything I eat and drink. The study requires that you do not alter your 'normal' diet so I am being brutaly honest! It is amazing to see what you do eat in a day. Some good, some not so good!
Sounds like an interesting study and I will update the blog to the progress and results.