According to new evidence, running frequently for long distances increases bone density. Researchers at Camilo José Cela University’s Sports Science Institute  found runners of either gender to have increased bone stiffness compared to their less-active counterparts. The study of 122 marathon runners and an age-matched sedentary control group used speed of sound (SOS) and broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) density estimations. The target bone, a small bone in the foot known as the calcaneus, was found to have significantly improved scores versus the control group. In females, this figure was actually double the average of the inactive group.
That is to say, those that ran frequently and trained for endurance were shown to have higher bone density. Once again, this shows that a healthy and active lifestyle is vital to maintaining your health. It’s also very important to note that nutritional factors play a huge role in this — the study did not control for dietary factors, and athletes commonly tailor their diets to achieve these results in combination with training.
However the team now also believe that their results show that endurance training is also an effective way to prevent the progressive decline in bone mineral density that occurs with age, with the study’s lead author Beatriz Lara commenting that, “Sports such as swimming or skating, in which body weight or impact loading are reduced, do not generate high osteogenic benefits. Nevertheless, the effect that endurance running training may have on our bones is not yet known — while it does not entail high impacts, it does require running long distances.” 
For more about the research check out the original paper on bone density here, or the CTV News article here. For more about keeping yourself healthy, check out our article on keeping depression at bay with fruits and vegetables.