Childhood Exercise = Stronger Bones in Adulthood

High impact physical activity during childhood and adolescence can lead to long-term improvements in bone mass, even after the cessation of exercise according to research published in a recent issue of Osteoporosis International.

The report based on findings of researchers at the University of Wisconsin, and the SUNY Upstate Medical Center studied the effects of mechanical loading or impact that occurs with physical activity during growth. Although the size and shape of the skeleton is heavily influenced by genetics, skeletal health is also affected by mechanical loading; weight-bearing and intense impact activities appear to reap the greatest benefits. The team led by Dr. Tamara Scerpella at Wisconsin selected gymnastics participation as their model of mechanical loading. They discovered that when compared with non-gymnasts, ex-gymnasts had greater radius bone mass, size, and bone mass density. These skeletal benefits persisted more than 4 years after ex-gymnasts discontinued their sport.

Their work supports the notion that exercise in childhood and early adolescence can result in sustained skeletal benefit into early adulthood. Black Sheep Says: This shows that starting exercise early can reap benefits throughout life!