Washington: Want to stay away from osteoporosis? Then, start playing basketball or volleyball regularly, as these load-bearing sports can help prevent the bone disease, scientists say. Researchers at University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that four hours a week or more of such sports, played by men during their 20s, increases bone mass and might provide some protection from developing osteoporosis later in life. "Men who increased their load-bearing activity from age 19 to 24 not only developed more bone, but also had larger bones compared to men who were sedentary during the same period," study author Mattias Lorentzon was quoted as saying by LiveScience. Osteoporosis, which affects more than 200 million people worldwide, casuses bones to become thinner and less dense. Bigger bones with more mass are thought to offer a shield against osteoporosis, a disease that affects men and women alike, in which bones become porous and weak over time and start to fracture by age 50 or later. "Osteoporosis actually seems to get its start by age 25 when bones start to lose tissue. So this study sends an important message to young men," Lorentzon said. "The more you move, the more bone you build." Past studies have suggested that load-bearing physical activity might shield men and women from bone loss, which occurs as part of the aging process. To find out whether the link would hold true in a very large study, Lorentzon and his team evaluated 833 men aged between 18 and 20 years. The researchers measured the participants` bone mass and collected information about their exercise habits. They came back to the lab to report activity levels and get bone scans again after five years.
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