Spine and Activity StudyWe have very little understanding about what kinds of sports and activities are beneficial for the spine. To fill that knowledge gap, we've conducted a study of people aged 25 to 35 years old who are cyclists, regular joggers, office workers and marathon runners.
To find out what kind of physical activities contribute to a healthy spine, we conducted a study of people aged 25 to 35 years old who, for the last five years, have been doing no leisure time sport or have been cycling, jogging regularly or running marathons.
The study involved an MRI at Olympic Park in Melbourne, some questionnaires and strength testing. Participants were also given an activity monitor to wear for eight days.
We found, for the first time, that runners have better discs than people who do not exercise. This is an important finding to challenge the perspective that the “discs can’t be strengthened” and it is also an important finding that challenges a common misconception that running is bad for the spine. This paper was published in Scientific Reports and was reported on in the international media, including in the New York Times. Further publications from the study are anticipated.