Intense Physical Activities Improve Bone Health, Research Reveals

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. high-impact / haɪ ˈɪm pækt / (adj) – putting a great amount of pressure on one’s body

    My entire body ached after I did a series of high-impact exercises.

  2. counter / ˈkaʊn tər / (v) – to fight against something

    Doing regular exercises can counter bone-related diseases.

  3. deterioration / dɪˌtɪər i əˈreɪ ʃən / (n) – a decrease in quality

    Lack of calcium can lead to bone deterioration.

  4. fracture / ˈfræk tʃər / (n) – a broken bone

    She had a fracture after falling down the stairs.

  5. sprinting / sprɪnt ɪŋ / (n) – a running exercise that requires runners to run as fast as they can over a short distance

    My coach encouraged me to join a sprinting competition because I can run very fast.


Read the text below.

A recent study revealed that doing intense physical activities can lead to stronger bones.

A study by the University of Southern Denmark and University of Copenhagen analyzed the bone and muscle health of 295 eight- to 10-year-old pupils for a period of one academic year. The researchers made a comparison between the effects of traditional physical education (PE) classes and high-impact physical activities, such as ball games and circuit training, on the participants’ bone density—the amount of minerals in a person’s bone.

Findings revealed that schoolchildren who participated in ball games or did 40-minute circuit training sessions three days a week showed improvement in their muscle strength and balance by 10% and 15%, respectively. Ball games alone also increased the leg and overall bone density of the participants by 7% and 3%. In addition, the overall bone density of those who did intense physical activities was 45% better than those who attended regular PE classes.

University of Southern Denmark assistant professor Malte Nejst [malt neyst] Larsen said that having healthy bone density, muscle strength, and balance, especially in children aged eight to 10, can counter osteoporosis—a disease wherein increased bone deterioration leads to risk of bone fracture.

An old study found that other high-impact sports like tennis, volleyball, basketball, and sprinting can lower the risk of osteoporosis. Based on the study results, respondents who engaged in the said sports when they were younger displayed higher bone mineral content, which can help prevent osteoporosis.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• After reading this article, would you engage in high-impact physical activities? Why or why not?
• Do you think that schools should increase the amount of high-impact physical activities that students do? Explain.

Discussion B

• In your opinion, is bone health promoted enough in your country? Explain.
• What do you think is the best way to promote bone health? Discuss.