Playing basketball at a young age could help people reduce their risk of osteoporosis later in life. Young men who played 4 or more hours of basketball a week had a higher peak bone mass than sedentary peers in a recent Swedish study. Having heavier bone mass is believed to protect older men against osteoporosis and fractures.
The study included 833 men ages 19-24. Researchers measured the bone density and mineral content of their lumbar spines and hips at baseline and again five years later. Men who engaged in high-load sports like soccer, volleyball, and basketball had an increase in volumetric bone density.
But not all physical activity produced the same results; men who jogged or performed non-load sports like swimming and biking did not experience comparable benefits. Researchers suggested that young people doing non-load sports should consider adding a loading activity into their exercise routine like resistance training.
The study adds to previous research linking bone density to physical activity. While high activity levels at a young age may have the farthest-reaching benefits, exercise can still improve bone density in older adults. Exercise and chiropractic can also reduce the pain of a number of musculoskeletal conditions associated with aging. A chiropractor can help you create a safe exercise plan to reduce your pain and risk of developing osteoporosis.
Baron-Faust, Rita. Impact Sports Score Solid Bones. Medpage Today. May 11, 2012. Accessed May 15, 2012. http://www.medpagetoday.com/Endocrinology/Osteoporosis/32626.
Nilsson M, Ohlsson C, Odén A, Mellström D, and Lorentzon M. Increased physical activity is associated with enhanced development of peak bone mass in men: a five-year longitudinal study. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 2012; 27 (5): 1206–1214; DOI: 10.1002/jmbr.1549.