Sports and Men’s Bone Health

Young adult males who engage in sports like basketball may experience a decrease in osteoporosis risk as they age, a new study report.

Study researchers started by measuring bone mass in more than 800 young men between the ages of 18 and 20. They also retrieved data regarding the men’s exercise levels. After five years passed, these same men had bone scans and shared the exercise habits again.

Active young men who performed load-bearing tasks and sports and men who increased their exercise levels over five years increased their chances of building their bones.

The study found that young men who participated in load-bearing sports each week for a minimum of four hours improved their hip bone density by an overall average of 1.3 percent. Young men who were inactive over the course of five years experienced a hip bone density decrease that amounted to 2.1 percent on average.

When hip bones begin to thin and weaken in later years, fractures and breaks are more likely to occur. The study authors stated that men’s hip fractures can cause complicated disabilities and other health issues. This study was published in May’s Journal of Bone and Mineral Research issue.

Dr. Mattias Lorentzon of the Sweden’s University of Gothenburg stated that men who performed more load bearing activities between ages 19 and 24 had an increase in bone development. These same men also had larger bones in comparison to the sedentary men who were studied.

Experts believe larger bones with higher mass can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak because they start becoming porous and cannot support the weight. This leads to fractures in later years, starting around age 50 at times.

Lorentzon added that osteoporosis may actually begin to develop as early as age 25. He notes that this makes it crucial for young men to stay active and increase their bone mass.

Lorentzon and other researchers discovered that basketball, tennis, soccer and volleyball are excellent sports for increasing bone mass. These load bearing sports require a lot of moving and jumping. This type of load bearing helps new bone tissue to develop.