Athletic Training in the Teen Years Builds Bones For a Lifetime

As you know, preventing osteoporosis begins when you're young. An interesting study demonstrates how male athletes enjoy the bone-building benefits of exercise for years, even after they stop training.

Researchers tracked the health of 63 athletes and 27 non-athletes (the average age of both groups was 17) for some eight years. The athletic group, composed of hockey and badminton players, actively trained for nine hours every week, and had been doing so, on average for about a decade. Their workouts included weight training, playing soccer and long-distance running.

Over the course of the study, 40 athletes stopped their training and, consequently, their average bone mineral density (BMD) fell dramatically. Interestingly, one group who stopped exercising later rather than sooner lost more BMD than the remaining active athletes and the control group of non-athletes.

Nevertheless, the group of active athletes at the outset of the study had better BMD numbers -- no matter if they continued exercising or didn't -- than the control group, particularly in their hips where debilitating fractures often occur. In fact, researchers estimate young athletes slashed their risk of future fractures in half by being active.

Not being an ex-athlete, however, doesn't limit your ability to build your BMD naturally or require a toxic drug to do it. Some tried-and-true tips for fighting and preventing osteoporosis safely and naturally:

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Vol. 91, No. 7, July 2006: 2600-2604 Free PDF Report

Yahoo News August 3, 2006

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