Get Your Kids Up and Active
Strengthening bones to avoid fractures starts at a very young age. Physical activity is important for fighting obesity but it also helps to keep bones strong also. Kids will have less fractures at older ages with physical exercise starting early on in life.
Researchers in Sweden found that 40 minutes of physical activity a day was more beneficial than 60 minutes of exercise in a week. The children in the study had their skeletal development recorded and compared the two groups. It was discovered the group of children who exercised 40 minutes a day had few bone fractures than the other group.
The children in the 40 minute physical activity group had higher bone density in the spine. Bone density is an indication of bone strength. The deeper the bone density is early in life, the stronger bones remain decades later, when natural thinning of bones weakens the skeleton and increases the risk of fractures and breaks.
To correlate these results with fractures later in life, former male athletes in their 60s and 70s were taken into account and compared their fracture rates and bone density scores with those of healthy men of the same age who did not train at an elite level. The results showed the former athletes as having a smaller rate of loss in bone density on average than non-athletes. This suggested their bones were better able to avoid fractures.
Bones become more porous and brittle with age as cells responsible for building bone become less active and can no longer keep up with the cells that destroy and remove old bone cells. Physical activity can shift this balance toward maintaining a healthy amount of bone growth, according to experts.