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Exercise and osteoporosis Basketball Might Prevent Osteoporosis

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.

I talked to Dr. Les Pachter, a chiropractor in Boca Raton, about this study.

“There’s no doubt that regular, load-bearing exercise like basketball is a great way to maintain bone strength and density,” Dr. Pachter says. “Too many young people lead sedentary lives, which causes many different kinds of health issues down the road, including osteoporosis. We see many people in our office who could benefit from regular exercise.”

Baron-Faust, Rita. Impact Sports Score Solid Bones. Medpage Today. May 11, 2012. Accessed May 15, 2012.

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.