Physical exercise in a person’s early 20s positively impacts bone development and can lower the risk of fractures as they grow older, according to a study from the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden.
Bone strength is determined at an early age. Previous studies found that adding bone mass when a person is young leads to a smaller risk factor for fractures as they grow older. Also, exercise before and during puberty is vital to proper bone development.
This Swedish study shows bone growth and reducing the risk of future fractures can be achieved by exercising in one’s early twenties.
Mattias Lorentzon along with his research team studied 833 Swedish men, and found that those who raised their amount of physical activity between the ages of 19 to 24 had increased bone density in their arms, lower legs, lumbar spine and hips.
Men who exercised less during the same age period had more cases of brittle bones later in life.
“The men who increased or maintained high levels of physical activity also developed larger and thicker bones in their lower arms and legs,” said Lorentzon. “These findings suggest that maintaining, or ideally, increasing physical activity can improve bone growth in our youth, which probably reduces the risk of fractures later on,” he concluded.
The study is published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.