Exercise in youth makes for stronger bones later
Researchers from Indiana University-Purdue say that because bones are a living tissue that responds to action, exercising while we’re young may have life-long benefits, including prolonged bone strength and greater bone mass.
To conduct their study, scientists compared the differences between the throwing and non-throwing arms of major league baseball players measured at different points in their careers to the differences in the arms of non-baseball players. They found that half of the bone size and one-third of the bone strength benefit of exercise performed during youth persisted throughout life.
Lead researcher, Stuart Warden explained that “exercise during youth adds extra layers to the outer surface of a bone to essentially make the bone bigger. This gives you more ‘bang for the buck,’ as the addition of a small amount of new material to the outside of a bone results in a disproportionate increase in bone strength relative to the gain in mass.”
The research team also believes that continuing exercise later in life may also help prevent further bone loss from the inside.