(HealthDay News) — For older men, walking is associated with reduced risk of hip fracture, with more walking and brisker walking correlating with greater risk reduction, according to research published online February 13 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Diane Feskanich, ScD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used 1986–2010 data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study for 35,996 men aged ≥50 years. The authors sought to examine associations between activity and hip fracture.

Over 24 years, the researchers identified 490 reported low-trauma hip fractures. There was a weak association between energy expenditure from all activities with a lower fracture risk. The risk was lowered by 43% with more walking time, with little other exercise (hazard ratio, 0.57 for four or more versus less than one hour/week), and the risk decreased in a linear fashion with more frequent walking (P<0.001). The risk was lowered by 47% for brisk versus leisurely pace. Risk was lowered with sitting (hazard ratio, 0.62 for 50 or more versus less than 20 hours/week), primarily among those who also walked for exercise. No benefit was seen for strenuous exercise.

“More time spent walking, particularly brisk walking, was associated with a lower risk of hip fracture in middle-aged and older men,” the authors write. “Walking is already the most common exercise among older adults and is relatively safe and easy to perform, making it a suitable activity to promote for prevention of hip fractures.”

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