Walking downhill a winner for bone strength in women with diabetes

Benefits are greatest an hour after a meal, US study on postmenopausal women suggests

Postmenopausal women with diabetes can help preserve their bone strength by walking downhill after eating, according to a US study.

Based on data from 15 women (age 57.7, BMI 27.2) walking downhill one hour after a meal offers the greatest osteogenic potential, University of Michigan researchers reported at the US Endocrine Society’s conference in New Orleans on Sunday.

They found serum levels of a bone formation marker were 44% higher after the women walked on a treadmill with a six-degree downwards slope for 40 minutes after eating their first meal than when they did the same exercise before eating. 

Exercising downhill after the first meal also led to a 40% higher osteogenic ratio (bone formation marker/resorption marker) than exercising downhill before this meal, the researchers found.

Walking uphill did not have the same effect, according to lead researcher Dr Katarina Borer (PhD), as