Exercising regularly during youth can reduce the likelihood of developing osteoporosis later in life, according to a new scientific study.
Researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, claim that children who undertake regular physical activity develop larger, denser bones.
The study observed 3,200 men and their exercise habits, before samples were taken of their heel bone at age 18.
Among men who exercised regularly in childhood, it was found that even those who no longer participated in sport maintained higher levels of bone density and thickness.
Study leader Martin Nilsson said: "The bones respond best when you're young and if you train and load them with your own body weight during these years, it has a stimulating effect on their development.
"This may be important for bone strength much later in life too, so reducing the risk of brittle bones."
One in two women over the age of 50 in the UK will fracture a bone, often due to osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Society.
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