A recent study found that kids fitness programs may reduce their risk for suffering fractures when they reach old age. It’s another powerful argument for regular physical exercise for youths.
Researchers from the American Orthopaedic Society found that boys and girls who got 40 minutes a day of physical education at school increased their spine bone mineral density and had almost 50% fewer fractures compared to kids who spent only 60 minutes a week in gym class. An accompanying study of men with an average age of 69 found that former athletes lost only minimal bone mass compared to their more sedentary peers.
It’s long been known that the years before we reach 20 are critical for bone development. The National Institutes of Health estimates that girls acquire 90 percent of their peak bone mass by the age of 18 and boys by 20.
Any weight-bearing exercise will help build bone density. If your kids participate in organized sports like soccer or basketball, they’re getting off to a good start. There are also plenty of individual activities that some children may prefer like dancing or skiing or just taking long walks. In addition to regular exercise, there are a few more ways you can help your kids build up more bone mass to see them through their later years. Give them several servings a day of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Good choices are dairy products, tofu and vitamin-enriched breakfast cereals. Keep in mind that tobacco weakens bones along with all its other dangers. Limiting soft drinks is also a good idea.
Merritt Athletic Clubs is the most complete fitness organization in Maryland and a leader in kids fitness programs like our popular Zumba Kids classes and a Junior Fitness Certification for children between the ages of 12-15. Contact us to learn more or join online.