Health Briefs

January 14, 2011

  • Exercising when young helps bones age better.
  • The dangers of sitting too long.
  • Movement helps Achilles tendon healing


Exercising when young helps bones age better

If you exercise when you’re young, your bones will thank you later. That’s the conclusion of a Swedish research study that showed a connection between active teenage years and healthier bone density and size later in life — and a reduced risk of osteoporosis.

The research team eva-luated the bone health of 3,200 Swedish men and collected information on their current and past exercise habits. 

They found that men who were active in sports or played sports in their teenage years had better bone density than men who were never active. A sub-study of men who had stopped exercising for at least six years revealed the men still maintained significantly larger and stronger bones than non-active men.  

Among the oldest men in the study (ages 75 and up), those who played sports at least three times a week before the age of 30 still had healthier bone density, showing that getting in the habit of exercising early in life is a gift to be enjoyed for many years to come.


The dangers of sitting too long.


Can sitting too much shorten your life? Several research studies appear to confirm that people who spend much of their lives sitting — at work, watching TV, driving — are more likely to suffer life-shortening health conditions including obesity and heart disease.

A report in the journal Sports Medicine from the UK explained that after sitting for around four hours, the body automatically triggers the shutdown of genes responsible for regulating glucose and body fat. 

Even exercise may not be able to undo the harm caused by sitting. A large-scale Canadian study which tracked the health of 17,000 adults for 12 years found that people who spent more time sitting had higher rates of serious diseases — no matter how much or how little they exercised. 

The bottom line: Keep moving, stay active, and make sedentary living a thing of the past.


Movement helps Achilles tendon healing


Anyone who has suffered a torn Achilles tendon knows how painful an injury it can be. As one of the body’s strongest tendons, the Achilles tendon is the thick structure which connects the heel bone to the muscles in the back of the leg. 

A tear of the Achilles tendon usually requires surgery and a significant length of time for healing.  

After evaluating a number of studies, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) recently updated its guidelines for treating tears of the Achilles tendon by recommending that patients have some mobility after surgery, so that a small amount of weight can be put on the injured tendon soon after surgery in order to promote faster healing.

Tears and ruptures of the Achilles tendon occur most frequently in men in their 30s and 40s, but the injury rate in older groups has increased in recent years, as older adults have remained active later in life.

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