Sports Medicine

High Impact Sports Key to Bone Density

new benefit from participating in high impact sports over a five-year period is reported by a Swedish study. Young men who engaged in basketball, volleyball and soccer, considered to be high impact sports, increased their bone density while the swimmers and bikers in the study did not.

Mattias Lorentzon, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at the Centre for Bone and Arthritis Research at the Sahlgrenska Academy Institute of Medicine in Gӧteborg, Sweden, studied 833 men, ages 19 to 24, in a five-year longitudinal study. They found that the high impact sports participants’ bone areal mineral density (aBMD) increased by 1.3% in their hips. Their more sedentary peers lost about 2.1% of hip aBMD over the same period. The study was printed in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and also reported May 11 by Rita Baron-Faust in MedPage Today.

Lorentzon’s study found that men who played sports, such as volleyball, soccer, and basketball several times a week for five years, also boosted density of their lumbar spine and total hip along with total body bone mineral content (BMC, P<0.001). He toldMedPage Today in an email that, “Young men who bike or swim could add a sport with loading to get the bone stimulating effect of their exercise. Our results suggest that joggers will not get equally positive effects on bone mass accrual as basketball players.”

Men have heavier bone mass than women and both men and women begin to lose their bone mass tissue by age 25. Lorentzon said that exercise in the younger years can increase bone size for both men and women, which could be protective later in life, even though the level of exercise is reduced.



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