Youth Sports Build Strong Bones for Life
Weight-Bearing Exercise Has Lasting Benefits for Women’s Bone Strength
Dec. 22, 2008 -- Participating in youth sports may provide lasting benefits
for women's bones.
A new study shows older women who participated in weight-bearing activities
like running, volleyball, and
tennis during adolescence have stronger bones later in life than women who
didn't play sports or did only non-weight-bearing exercise like swimming.
Researchers say the findings suggest that weight-bearing exercise in
adolescence may help maintain strong bones throughout life and compensate for
the natural loss of bone strength that occurs in women after menopause.
Sports Build Strong Bones
In the study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine,
researchers compared the effect of youth sports participation in 46
postmenopausal women aged 52 to 73 on two major contributors to overall bone
strength: bone mineral content and bone mineral density.
Researchers found that women who participated in weight-bearing sports that
involve running and jumping, such as track and field, tennis, and volleyball,
in junior high and high school had significantly greater bone strength in at
least two main areas than women who didn't play sports or those who
participated in non-weight-bearing exercise.
Although there was no difference in bone mineral density between the two
groups, researchers found that the weight-bearing exercise group had
significantly greater bone mineral content in the spine and thigh bone.
Researcher Takeru Kato of the Suzuka University of Medical Science in Japan
and colleagues, say none of the women did weight-bearing exercise at the time
of the current study, which suggests that the benefits of weight-bearing
exercise in youth may last 40 years or more.