Playing football boosts bone development in boys: Study

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New Delhi: Playing football can improve bone development in adolescent boys, new research shows.

In a study comparing adolescent footballers to swimmers, cyclists and a control group of boys not involved in regular sport, scientists at the University of Exeter found football led to significantly better bones after one year of training.

“Our research shows that playing football can improve bone development in comparison to swimming and cycling,” said lead author Dimitris Vlachopoulos, from the University of Exeter.

“Though the study focussed on aspiring professionals who played as much as nine hours a week, playing football for three hours a week might be enough for a substantial effect,” Vlachopoulos added.

Weight-bearing exercise like tennis, badminton, basketball and handball may also have similar effects to football

Adolescence is the key period for bone development, and poor development at this stage is linked to reduced peak bone mass (the amount of bone mass at the end of the skeletal maturation, around age 30), increased fracture risk and osteoporosis later in life, the researchers added.