WASHINGTON — When it comes to bone health, a new study finds people on a plant-based diet should grab the dumbbells. Researchers in Austria have found that lifting weights is the best form of exercise for vegans – trumping cycling and swimming.
The team found that vegans who do resistance training once a week – such as machine-work, free weights, or bodyweight resistance – have stronger bones than plant-based eaters who do other forms of exercise.
Previous studies have found that veganism can lead to lower bone density and increased risk of fractures.
However, the new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found vegans who did resistance training had similar bone structure to omnivores — people who eat both meat and vegetables.
For at least five years, authors followed 43 men and women on a plant-based diet and 45 men and women who eat meat as well.
“People who adhere to a vegan lifestyle should perform resistance training on a regular basis to preserve bone strength,” says Dr. Christian Muschitz from St. Vincent Hospital Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, in a media release.
“Veganism is a global trend with strongly increasing numbers of people worldwide adhering to a purely plant-based diet,” Muschitz adds. “Our study showed resistance training offsets diminished bone structure in vegan people when compared to omnivores.”
Estimates show that there are around six million vegans in the United States today. That’s roughly two percent of the population. The practice avoids exploiting animals for any purpose, with compassion being the key reason these individuals choose to not eat meat or make use of products which come from animals.
South West News Service writer Pol Allingham contributed to this report.