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Unless you are super active or Mo Farah then going for a run isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world.

Going to the gym or cycling would seem like an easier option for keeping fit, but there could be an added benefit to running beside staying in shape.

Research from Deakin University in Australia has discovered that regular runners have younger bone marrow than those that don't.

Their study analysed 101 people aged between 25 and 35, some of whom were runners some who weren't. A number of cyclists were also involved.

According to their findings, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, they found that people who ran at least five and a half miles a week had marrow that was a year younger than their actual age.

It was even better for people who ran at least 12.5 miles a week as their marrow appeared eight years younger than they were.

You may be asking why it is important to have younger bone marrow? As associate professor and lead author Daniel Belavy explains, it is all to do with marrow turning into fat as we grow older:

In a statement from Deakin University he writes:

Humans are born with predominately red blood cell-producing bone marrow, however, with age, this converts into a yellow fatty marrow.

This can negatively impact blood and bone metabolism in areas such as the pelvis, vertebrae, thighs and hips and contribute to other chronic conditions, such as diabetes and osteoporosis.

Our understanding of bone marrow has developed significantly in recent years and we now know that bone marrow fat has a direct impact on blood cell development and bone cell activity.

Surprisingly, the study found that the cyclists who were involved had similar levels of bone marrow fat to those that did no exercise at all.

This is due to cycling not being an activity which builds bone tissue, whereas running does. Belavy adds:

While the cyclists trained at similar aerobic levels and were of similar physical fitness to the long-distance runners, it was the impact-loading activities that were shown to build bone tissue.

Runners, who undergo repeated cycles of higher spinal loading than cyclists, are known to have higher vertebral bone density and we showed they maintained low levels of bone marrow fat.

Before you start getting ideas in your head about becoming a marathon runner, it's wise to take it easy.

Belavy states that even short but regular jogs will keep your bones fit and healthy. He adds:

Our results showed that regular jogging also helped keep bone marrow young, so you don't need to be a long-distance runner to gain benefits.

HT Medical Daily

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