Exercise for Bone in Childhood-Hitting the Sweet Spot

Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2017 Nov 1;29(4):440-449. doi: 10.1123/pes.2017-0023. Epub 2017 Oct 11.


Purpose: The goal of the current work is to challenge the enduring notion that prepuberty is the optimum timing for maximum bone response to exercise in childhood and to present the evidence that early puberty is a more potently receptive period.

Method: The relevant literature is reviewed and the causes of the misconception are addressed in detail.

Results: Contrary to prevailing opinion, ample evidence exists to suggest that the peripubertal years represent the developmental period during which bone is likely to respond most robustly to exercise intervention.

Conclusion: Public health initiatives that target bone-specific exercise interventions during the pubertal years are likely to be the most effective strategy to harness the increased receptiveness of the growing skeleton to mechanical loading.

Keywords: bone mass; children; maturity; physical activity; puberty.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density* / physiology
  • Bone Development*
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Child
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Puberty*