Two minutes of hopping a day can strengthen the hip bones of older men and reduce the risk of fracture after a fall, a new study has found.

The Hip Hop study at Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK, measured the effect of daily hopping exercises in 34 men aged more than 65 years and showed bone density improvement after one year. Researchers identified increases of as much as 7% in the bone mass of some parts of the outer shell (cortex) and in the density of the layer of spongy bone underneath this shell. They also saw improvements in the thinnest areas of the bone, which are most at risk of fracture after a fall.

Katherine Brooke-Wavell, PhD, lead researcher at Loughborough University, noted that study volunteers were screened and gradually increased their exercising.

Ken Poole, PhD, who led the bone mapping analysis for the study, at the University of Cambridge, added: “In percentage terms, the improvements we saw in these healthy men after just one year of hopping compare favorably to bone gains induced by osteoporosis drugs in women with fragile hips. However, we don’t yet know if men and women with osteoporosis would get the same benefits, or even whether the exercises would be safe for them to do, which are important research questions.”