Researchers claim playing ball games as a teenager can help keep bones healthy for more than 40 years. Weight-bearing exercise such as tennis, volleyball, basketball, handball and softball, as well as sprinting, strengthen bones into older age, according to the study on sport played between the ages of 12 and 18.
During these activities you are supporting your weight and your bones react to the forces exerted on them by becoming stronger.
Japanese researchers questioned 46 women aged 52 to 73 who had gone through the menopause, after which bone loss occurs naturally.
They were grouped according to whether they had done weight-bearing exercise as adolescents, non weight-bearing, including swimming, or none.
The study found that those who had taken part in weight-bearing sports had significantly greater bone mineral content in both the spine and the thigh bone than those who had not.
Their outer thigh bone area was larger, enabling then to withstand fractures better.
None of those with strong bones was still doing any weight-bearing exercise, suggesting the effects of exercise in adolescence can offer long-term benefits, the researchers from the Suzuka University of Medical Science said in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Source: Daily Mail