Regular physical activity is important throughout our lives. It is particularly important during adolescence to stimulate bone growth and reduce the risk of thin or chalky bones (osteoporosis) in later years. It also helps in maintaining a healthy weight.

It is quite common for teenage girls to drop out of organised sport, which can mean they will be less physically active as adults. It many also have an impact on their health now and into the future.

Bone health

Most of us don't think about our bone health in our teenage years, but puberty is the best period of life to stimulate bone growth. Around 60 per cent of our bone density is gained between the ages of 10 and 14. Exercise during childhood and adolescence produces much higher gains in bone density than exercise in adulthood. 

Our bone density declines after our periods stop (menopause). This usually happens when a woman is around 50 years old. The higher the bone density we achieve in adolescence and young adulthood, the lower our risk of osteoporis and bone fractures in later life.

Adolescence is often a time when young men and women stop playing sports that they may have played since they were very young. Study, part-time jobs and a social life can get in the way. However, it is important to remain as active as you can.

Physical activity

High-impact activities such as running, skipping, gymnastics, ballet, basketball and netball, tennis, trampoling and dancing will all promote bone growth. It's a good idea to participate in a range of different physical activities. Aim for a minimum of 60 minutes exercise a day, which can be spread through the day.

Try and limit the amount of time you spend sitting after school hours. Limit TV and computer time to two hours per day.

Here are some ideas to keep you moving:

  • Cycle or walk to school
  • Take over walking the family dog
  • Enter a fun run with friends
  • Join a school sports team
  • Ask a good friend to exercise with you


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