How Important is Bone Density?

A recent article in the Journal of Biomechanics evaluated the importance of density on the strength of cow bones and human bones.  The results showed that the strength and toughness of the human bones were much more sensitive to decreased density than they were to induced damage.  This tells us that we should focus our efforts on increasing bone density, rather on finding ways to avoid damage to our bones.

That is good news for all of us runners who put our bodies through numerous repetitive motions.  Increasing and maintaining our bone density can be achieved by doing weight bearing activity, eating whole foods that are rich in calcium, and getting adequate Vitamin D.  This equates to twenty minutes of full-body sun exposure every day (without sunscreen) in the spring, summer, and fall, and possibly taking a Vitamin D supplement in the winter depending on your geographic location.  Increasing bone density is the key to having strong, healthy bones.


Jacqueline G. Garrison, Joshua A. Gargac, Glen L. Niebur Shear strength and toughness of trabecular bone are more sensitive to density than damage.   Journal of Biomechanics 26 September 2011 (Article in Press DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2011.09.002)

Photo attribution: creative commons 3.0, bertazzo

“How Important is Bone Density” was originally published December 3, 2012 on

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