A recent study reveals that consistently watching high levels of television during childhood and adolescence were linked with lower peak bone health at age 20 years.
In the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research study, hours of television watching per week were recorded by parental or self-report at 5, 8, 10, 14, 17 and 20 years of age in 1181 participants.
Those who consistently watched ≥14 hours/week of television had lower bone mineral content than those who watched less television, even after adjusting for height, body mass, physical activity, calcium intake, vitamin D levels, alcohol, and smoking (all at age 20).
The authors say since attainment of optimal peak bone mass is protective against osteoporosis later in life, reducing sedentary time in children may have long-term skeletal benefits.
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Also, Dr. Anne Winther of the Arctic University of Norway says lack of activity may cause weak bones and even osteoporosis, but walking, running, and engaging in other weight-bearing activities leads to stronger, denser bones.
Research shows that teenage boys who spent excessive time on screen-based sedentary activities also tended to weigh more than their peers who used them for 1.5 hours a day or less.
Though spending too much time being sedentary is associated with lower bone mineral density in boys, staying physically active during childhood can help promote strong bones throughout their life.
As we age, bones tend to lose density, and conditions like osteoporosis, as well as osteoarthritis (causing stiff and painful joints), become more common.
Bones are constantly being rebuilt in a dynamic process involving the removal of old bone through osteoclasts and regeneration of new, healthy bone by osteoblasts.
Over the years, wear and tear can weaken joints and ligaments. While there are often things we can do to address specific problems – such as joint replacement surgeries and physiotherapy – one of the best things we can do is prevent problems from arising or worsening by keeping the muscles that support and surround our joints strong.
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This takes the pressure off the more vulnerable bones and soft tissues of the joint, helping them stay healthy and pain-free.