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Given the warmer weather and longer days during summer, some people may be more inclined to be lazy and ignore the need for physical activity. Conversely, some people may ditch their electronics and head to the gym. Whichever side you fall on, or even if you fall in between, there are undoubtedly benefits to staying active. Moreover, these benefits can start as early as adolescence and consequently affect bone growth.

According to a study by researchers at the University of British Columbia, physicallyinactive teenagers are more prone to have weaker bones than active teenagers. During this study, Leigh Gabel and her team of researchers analyzed the physical activity and bone strength of 309 teenagers. More specifically, they studied girls aged 10 to 14 and boys aged 12 to 16, a critical period of their development called puberty. Using high resolution 3D X-ray images, Gabel compared differences in bone growth between children who achieved 60 minutes of activity daily and children who completed less than 30 minutes. From the data she gathered, Gabel concluded that teenagers who are more active go on to develop stronger bones.

 Doing push-ups with friends is a great way to exercise and grow!

 

Image Source: Thomas Barwick 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Gabel and her team stress the importance of teenagers staying active. Because puberty is a significant growth period, during which as much as 36% of the skeleton is formed, parents need to push their kids to exercise more and stay off electronics. Gabel recommends activities such as playing basketball, soccer, or frisbee. Although playing sports every day may not be possible, engaging in less intense activities such as dancing at home or walking the dog can also be effective.

As electronic devices are so prevalent in today’s society, it’s important for everybody, especially teenagers, to engage in a healthy amount of physical activity. Using electronics isn’t a sin, but balancing it out with exercise is key. So the next time you decide to take a break from the laptop and hit the outdoors, encourage your friend, cousin, or colleague to do the same.

Feature Image Source: My Foot 2 by Andrew Magill

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