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Researchers find physical activity in youth leads to stronger bones in old age

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Posted March 26, 2014
Researchers find physical activity in youth leads to stronger bones in old age
Reconstructed CT images of the humerii of a professional baseball player reveal a bigger bone in the throwing arm than on the non-throwing arm when the bone is viewed from the front (left images). Cross-sectional images (right) displayed greater total and cortical bone areas, greater cortical thickness, and smaller medullary area in the throwing arm than in the non-throwing arm. The net result was a stronger bone in the throwing arm, with one-third of the bone strength benefit lasting lifelong in retired players despite throwing being completed more than 50 years earlier. Credit: Stuart Warden
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with members from the U.S. and Australia has found that people who exercise when young tend to increase the size and strength of their bones, which appears to make for lifelong benefits. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes how they studied the bones in the arms of professional baseball players over the course of their lives and how their activities impacted bone size and strength.

Everyone knows that exercise causes muscles to grow bigger and leaner, now it appears it offers similar benefits for bones as well. In this new study, the research team enlisted the assistance of 103 professional baseball players to learn more about the impact of exercise on bones.

In their study, the researchers found that the ball players had up to twice the bone strength in their throwing arms (humeral diaphysis bone) as in their non-throwing arm—as measured by bone size and density.

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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