Gymnastics May Fight Osteoporosis, Data Shows

A new study shows that girls who were involved in intensive gymnastics training were less likely to develop osteoporosis as adults.

Across the United States, millions of young girls train and compete every day in gymnastics programs at school and in private clubs.

Now, a study conducted in Greece has suggested such programs may actually help adolescent girls avoid problems like osteoporosis when they get older.

Researchers studied the effects of rigorous, rhythmic gymnastics training on a group of 49 girls between the ages of 9 and 13.

What they found in girls who actively trained in gymnastics for at least two years was a marked improvement in bone density, bone mineral content and the thickness in the outer shell of the bone. In other words, their bones were healthier.

Girls who only got gymnastics training in school P.E. programs didn't show that improvement.

Experts said the long-term benefits of intensive exercise on bone development is still unclear but this first-of-its-kind study has now quantitatively measured at least some improvement.

So, while parents still have to guard against the aches and pains, bumps and bruises of their daughter's gymnastic training, they may actually be giving them a "leg up" in the aging process in the long run.

Print this article Back to Top