It is recommended that you exercise regularly in order to keep your bones strong and reduce the risk of fractures. But have you ever wondered how this happens? A group of researchers pondered the idea of how exercise benefits bone strength to give us an answer.
The researchers worked with mice to uncover a hormone linked to exercise, which helps regulate the process of bone growth. The hormone is known as irisin and is linked with a protein called sclerostin, which acts as a mediator for skeletal health.
Irisin and sclerostin play a role in bone cell turnover. The bulk of our bone cells stay around for years, but others die and regrow in order to keep bones strong. Irisin and sclerostin help signal to the body this process of cell death and regrowth and this process is amped up when we exercise.
The theory of cells having to die for bones to become stronger may seem confusing, but this process is natural and necessary. Creating newer cells helps keep bones stronger and healthier.
These findings were confirmed among mice who lacked irisin. These mice did not lose bone mass when subjected to osteoporosis models. This test proved that without irisin, the process of bone cell turnover could not be completed. If bone cells do not die, then new ones cannot be created. Previous studies showed that treating mice with irisin helps make for stronger bones.
Alternative studies have been linked with fat regulation and brain activity, showing that irisin may be a beneficial hormone in other areas of health as well.
The study is a more scientific explanation as to why it’s so essential for you to regularly exercise as a means of maintaining strong bones.