Photo: Getty Images
Research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden indicated that physical activity during one's youth has a great impact on bone size and bone density later in life. Higher activity in the early years may decrease the risk of osteoporosis later.
People who were actively involved in sports had better bone density than people who were less active. This was also true of people who had been physically active in the past, even if they had not been active for a number of years. These findings were published in the July 15, 2010 issue of ScienceDaily.
The Mayo Clinic concurred that those who have been physically active in the past will have better bone density along with stronger muscles, which offer further protection to the bones. But those who have not been active can still lower the odds of getting osteoporosis by starting to exercise, even at a late date. This is especially important for post-menopausal women.
The Mayo Clinic encourages involvement in strength training, weight-bearing aerobics, exercises that increase flexibility, balance and stability for those who have osteoporosis, and for those who are at risk for bone loss.
Strength training includes free weights, resistance bands and weight machines. Weight-bearing aerobics refer to aerobics done on your feet so your weight is supported by your bones. Dancing, low-impact aerobics, gardening and stair-climbing are examples.
Stretching will increase flexibility. Balance and stability can become better established through yoga and tai chi.
The February 27, 2009 issue of e! Science News, reported that research from the University of Missouri demonstrated that high-impact exercise like running may be more beneficial than resistance training for prevention of bone mineral density (BMD).
According to the University of Arizona, load-bearing or weight-bearing activities should be done at least three times a week. When muscle pulls on bone, this builds stronger and denser bone. This will help at the time and also in later years even if the individual does not remain active.