Martial arts training limits injuries27th April 2010
Osteoporosis patients can greatly benefit from martial arts training, according to a new Dutch study.
Specifically, osteoporosis patients should study the types of martial arts that would help people reduce their risk of injury when they fall.
For the study, the researchers studied the way fall training affected six healthy people between the ages of 23 and 44.
For safety reasons, the researchers did not test the martial arts moves on people who had osteoporosis.
After the study subjects had learned basic fall techniques, they were taught how to turn falls into rolling movements by contorting the neck and torso.
The most important parts of the training involved being able to protect the head, and some techniques for doing so involved slapping the arm down on the ground.
After the researchers had trained their healthy subjects in all of the fall techniques, they measured the impact forces created by their falling using 3D cameras and a pressure-sensitive plate placed under a judo mat.
The researchers said that all of the martial arts moves used in the study could potentially be taught to older people.
Such training would be good news for older people with osteoporosis, for whom hip fractures from falls can be catastrophic.
However, people who have osteoporosis should not fall forward from a standing position, or train without hip protectors, and they should only practise falls on thick gymnasium mattresses.
Researcher Brenda Groen, of the Institute for Fundamental and Clinical Human Movement Sciences at Vrije University in Amsterdam, said that, since martial arts techniques reduced hip impact forces and could be learned by older persons, the training would prevent hip fractures in people with osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis, which is the most common bone disease in the world, causes about 200,000 broken spine, hip, and wrist bones in the UK every year.
In particular, the martial arts of judo and aikido teach students how to change falls into rolling movements.
Experts often urge people with osteoporosis to get some form of exercise, usually a combination of weight-bearing exercises such as jogging, tai chi, or dancing, and strength-training exercises.
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