Losing weight could keep your bones healthy, says new research

Losing weight not only helps your cardiovascular health, but it also increases the mineral count in our bones, according to science

Woman examining bone health
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When we’re dieting and exercising, in a bid to shed weight, many of us think about the other health benefits - such as lowering our blood pressure, more energy, and a better immune system. However, a new study claims that it could also help improve bone health.

In the past, it’s been reported that losing weight could put too much impact on our bones, making them weaker, especially if we’re exercising more and cutting traditional dairy products from our diet.   

But one new study has revealed that losing weight, usually by eating a healthy diet, exercising portion control (check out our portion size guide for more) and working out consistently using methods such as the best exercise machines to lose weight, could keep our bones healthy. Researchers at the University of Chicago and the Endocrine Society looked at how those with a leaner body mass and keep their weight to the correct BMI have a better supply of minerals in their bones than those who don't, making them stronger.

The study analyzed the body composition data of over 10,000 people, all aged under 60, over a period of eight years. The researchers found that those who were leaner had better bone mineral density levels: a measurement of how much calcium and other minerals you have in your bones, which will ultimately keep them healthy.

Woman running for weight loss

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The research went on to show that bone mineral density was lower in those that had a large amount of fat mass, especially in men. Keeping bones healthy means less risk of osteoporosis, a condition that can mean back pain, bad posture, and a higher risk of breaking bones in the body. 

Bone health is incredibly important for all of us, as our bones protect our organs and keep us stable, however, it’s even more important when you start to get older, as we naturally lose bone density as we age.

Another study in 2015 came to the same conclusion, revealing that those with more fatty tissue on their bodies were at higher risk of losing bone strength. The study concluded that those who want to improve their bone health need to concentrate on taking more regular exercise.

Lifting weights and resistance training, in particular, are great for improving bone health. Using weights in your fitness routine, such as the best adjustable dumbbells, puts stress on your bones, just like with your muscles, and ultimately helps to make them stronger.

Sarah is a freelance journalist who writes about fitness and wellbeing for the BBC, Woman&Home and Tech Radar. During lockdown she found her love of running outside again and now attempts to run around 50 miles a month. When it comes to other fitness, she loves a sweaty cardio session – although since she’s been working out from home she’s sure her downstairs neighbors aren’t too happy about it. She also loves to challenge herself - and has signed up to do hiking holidays, intense bootcamps and last year she went on her dream activity holiday: paddle boarding around deserted islands in Croatia. On her rest days, she loves to recover with a simple yoga flow session – the perfect antidote to her active fitness schedule.