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High intensity physical activity may lead to stronger bones as adults

High intensity physical activity may lead to stronger bones as adults


High intensity physical activity in early life might help maximize peak hip strength and prevent osteoporosis in later life, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Bristol found that more time spent doing moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) from the age of 12 was associated with stronger hips at age 25, while time spent in light intensity activity was less clearly associated with adult hip strength.

Peak bone mass occurs in young adulthood and is considered to be a marker of the risk of fracture and osteoporosis in later life. Hip fractures make up a large proportion of the osteoporosis disease burden.

Researchers found evidence to suggest that adolescent MVPA was more important than MVPA in adulthood, and that MVPA in early adolescence may be more important than in later adolescence.

There was also some evidence that higher impact activity (consistent with jumping) was related to stronger hips at age 25.

Dr. Ahmed Elhakeem, lead author and Senior Research Associate in Epidemiology, said: "The results highlight adolescence as a potentially important period for bone development through high intensity exercise, which could benefit future bone health and prevent osteoporosis in later life. We have also confirmed other studies showing that levels of MVPA decline through adolescence. Our findings show it is really important to support young people to remain active at this age."

“The findings from this study are welcome as they provide further evidence that children need to be doing moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity during their early adolescence to maximize bone strength in later life and reduce the risk of painful fractures,” said Francesca Thompson, Clinical and Operations Director at the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS). “Supporting and encouraging young people to be more physically active needs to be a priority for bone as well as general health."

Study Exercise Health Physical Activity Bone Health

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