As young children grow and develop, it is important that they accumulate as much bone mass as possible. The higher levels of bone mass significantly lowers your chances of suffering osteoporotic fractures later on in life as an adult. Children that participate in Sports such as Soccer, have been scientifically proven to accumulate more bone mass than their less active friends or peers.
Scientists conducted an experiment using children that played Soccer for respective clubs and compared them to a placebo set of children that just participated in school activities such as their compulsory PE curriculum. The Soccer group consisted of children recruited from Soccer clubs that had been playing for more than 1 year. The control group consisted of children that only participated in compulsory physical activity that was limited to 2*45 minutes of activities per week.
Dual X-ray absorptiometry was used to measure the bone mineral content and density of the children undertaking this experiment. This test was conducted at the start and at the end of the experiment. Body composition and various fitness variables of the children were also recorded. The following experiment was conducted for 3.5 years and concluded with all the participants still under the age of 13.
The results are as follows
The soccer players exhibited greater bone mineral content (BMC) in the legs and greater bone mineral density (BMD) in all bone related regions at the end of the study.
The Soccer players gained twice as much femoral neck and intertrochanteric BMC in the legs than the controls and increased their femoral neck BMD by 10% more and their mean hip BMD by a third more than the control group.
The Soccer players percentage body fat remained the same, while the control group experienced an increase of 11 units.
Total Lean Body Mass increased by 6% more in the Soccer players than in the controls.
When tested physically and aerobically, the Soccer players achieved significantly better results than the control group. Some of the test were 300m sprints and 20m shuttles runs.
The Scientists and researches that conducted this study concluded “that just 3 hours of Soccer a week can significantly increase the osteogenic effect on clinically relevant zones. This is why we think Soccer may be considered as a low-cost and effective option to improve bone acquisition in growing children. Soccer participation entails benefits in cardiovascular physical fitness ans soft tissue body composition as it counteracts the socio-cultural tendency to accumulate body fat and improve lean mass”. But the most important finding was, “osteogenic effects….which may facilitate the acquisition of a higher bone mineral peak, which can translate into a reduction in the risk of bone fractures throughout life.” The above findings and quotations were taken from- (REF: Medi Sci Sports Exerc, Vol 36, no 10, pp 1789-1795.)