Impact Sports Strengthen Bones in Senior Athletes

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Running, basketball and other high-impact sports may lead to stronger bones as people age, according to a new study presented today at the 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Measurements conducted on senior Olympic athletes found that the bone mineral density (BMD) for those who participated in impact sports was significantly greater than athletes who competed in low-impact sports like swimming and cycling.

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"While we know that exercise is vital as we get older, this study finds that the kind of exercise we choose can be just as important," said Vonda Wright, M.D., lead author and assistant professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "The findings show that a key to maintaining strong, healthy bones as we age is to engage in impact sports," added Dr. Wright, who is an orthopaedic surgeon at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine.

The study evaluated 298 athletes competing in the 2005 Senior Olympic Games in Pittsburgh. The athletes, ages 50 to 93, completed a health-history questionnaire and underwent ultrasound to measure BMD. The BMD T-score for athletes in the high-impact group was ..4

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