ABSTRACT:Childhood and adolescence are critical periods for the skeleton. Mechanical load has then been shown to be one of the best stimuli to enhance not only bone mass, but also structural skeletal adaptations, as both contributing to bone strength. Exercise prescription also includes a window of opportunity to improve bone strength in the late pre- and early peri-pubertal period. There is some evidence supporting the notion that skeletal gains obtained by mechanical load during growth are maintained at advanced age despite a reduction of physical activity in adulthood. The fact that former male athletes have a lower fracture risk than expected in their later years does not oppose the view that physical activity during growth and adolescence is important and it should be supported as one feasible strategy to reduce the future incidence of fragility fractures.
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