Background: Physical activity has been recommended for the prevention and even treatment of osteoporosis
because it potentially can increase bone mass and strength during childhood and adolescence and reduce the risk of falling
in older populations. However, few reports have systematically investigated the effect of physical activity on bone in men
and women of different ages.
Purpose: The goal of this study was to review the literature relating to the effect of physical activity on bone mineral
density in men and women of various ages.
Method: This review systematically evaluates the evidence for the effect of physical activity on bone mineral density.
Cochrane and Medline databases were searched for relevant articles, and the selected articles were evaluated.
Results: The review found evidence to support the effectiveness of weight bearing physical activity on bone accrual
during childhood and adolescence. The effect of weight bearing physical activity was site-specific. In contrast, the role of
physical activity in adulthood is primarily geared toward maintaining bone mineral density. The evidence for a protective
effect of physical activity on bone is not as solid as that for younger individuals.
Conclusions: The effect of weight bearing physical activity is seen in sites that are exposed to loading. There also seems
to be a continuous adaptive response in bone to loading. Additional randomized, controlled studies are needed to evaluate
the effect of physical activity in the elderly.