To Your Health
March, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 03)
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No Bones About It: Girls Benefit From Weight-Bearing Exercise

By Editorial Staff

 - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Adolescent girls who participate in sports may benefit from more than just the team environment and consistent exercise routine. Participation in high-impact, weight-bearing activities that involve running and jumping during junior high and high school also makes them more likely to have stronger bones later in life, according to a recent study.

The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggests that postmenopausal women who participated in weight-bearing exercise during adolescence have stronger bones than women who participated in "lighter activities" during adolescence. The researchers measured the bone mineral content (BMC) and other variables of bone health in 46 women between the ages of 52 and 73, all of whom had participated in exercise between the ages of 12 and 18. However, only 16 had participated in high-impact, weight-bearing exercise (running and jumping); the remaining 30 had participated in low-impact, non-weight-bearing exercise such as swimming.

Results showed that the 16 women who participated in high- impact, weight-bearing exercise had significantly greater BMC than the 30 women who did not, leading the researchers to conclude: "Weight-bearing exercise in youth affects bone, and these effects may be preserved as BMC, geometric and structural advantages even after 40 years."

Talk to your doctor about the significant benefits of strong bones and ways to ensure bone health for a lifetime. To view the abstract of the study, "Adolescent Exercise Associated With Long-Term Superior Measures of Bone Geometry," visit www.bjsm.