Martial arts may help to keep bones fighting fit

MARTIAL arts might help the elderly avoid bone fractures. Disciplines such as kung fu, karate and judo involve techniques that can help brittle-boned patients fall more safely, it was claimed yesterday.

Scientists carried out a feasibility study using healthy volunteers to see if martial arts training in how to fall could help people with osteoporosis.

The research showed that hip fractures could be prevented by teaching the skills to vulnerable elderly patients. Dr Brenda Groen, of the Vrije University, Amsterdam, said: "We measured the hip impact forces during the martial arts fall exercises in a group of young adults.

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"Since martial arts techniques reduce hip impact forces and can be learned by older persons, martial arts fall training may prevent hip fractures among persons with osteoporosis."

The findings are reported in the online journal BMC Research Notes.

Osteoporosis leads to about 230,000 fractures in the UK annually, costing an estimated 2.3 billion in hospital and social care.