Osteoporosis International

, Volume 23, Issue 9, pp 2303–2312 | Cite as

Lifelong physical activity in maintaining bone strength in older men and women of the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility–Reykjavik Study

  • N. J. RianonEmail author
  • T. F. Lang
  • G. Sigurdsson
  • G. Eiriksdottir
  • S. Sigurdsson
  • M. Garcia
  • S. Pajala
  • A. Koster
  • B. Yu
  • B. J. Selwyn
  • W. C. Taylor
  • A. S. Kapadia
  • V. Gudnason
  • L. J. Launer
  • T. B. Harris
Original Article



We examined if lifelong physical activity is important for maintaining bone strength in the elderly. Associations of quantitative computerized tomography-acquired bone measures (vertebral and femoral) and self-reported physical activity in mid-life (mean age, 50 years), in old age (≥65 years), and throughout life (recalled during old age) were investigated in 2,110 men and 2,682 women in the AGES–Reykjavik Study. Results conclude lifelong physical activity with continuation into old age (≥65 years) best maintains better bone health later in life.


Skeletal loading is thought to modulate the loss of bone in later life, and physical activity is a chief means of affecting bone strength by skeletal loading. Despite much discussion regarding lifelong versus early adulthood physical activity for preventing bone loss later in life, inconsistency still exists regarding how to maintain bone mass later in life (≥65 years).


We examined if lifelong physical activity is important for maintaining bone strength in the elderly.


The associations of quantitative computerized tomography-acquired vertebral and femoral bone measures and self-reported physical activity in mid-life (mean age, 50 years), in old age (≥65 years), and throughout life (recalled during old age) were investigated in 2,110 men and 2,682 women in the AGES–Reykjavik Study.


Our findings conclude that lifelong physical activity with continuation into old age (≥65 years) best maintains better bone health in the elderly.


AGES–Reykjavik Study Bone mineral density Older men and women Osteoporosis Physical activity QCT bone measures 



The Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility–Reykjavik Study is funded by NIH contract N01-AG-12100, the NIA Intramural Research Program, Hjartavernd (the Icelandic Heart Association), and the Althingi (the Icelandic Parliament). Genotyping was conducted at the NIA IRP Laboratory of Neurogenetics.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. J. Rianon
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. F. Lang
    • 2
  • G. Sigurdsson
    • 3
  • G. Eiriksdottir
    • 4
  • S. Sigurdsson
    • 4
  • M. Garcia
    • 5
  • S. Pajala
    • 6
  • A. Koster
    • 5
  • B. Yu
    • 5
  • B. J. Selwyn
    • 7
  • W. C. Taylor
    • 7
  • A. S. Kapadia
    • 7
  • V. Gudnason
    • 4
    • 8
  • L. J. Launer
    • 9
  • T. B. Harris
    • 5
  1. 1.Family and Community MedicineUTHSC Medical SchoolHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Radiology and Biomedical ImagingUCSF School of MedicineSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal MedicineLandspitali-University HospitalReykjavikIceland
  4. 4.Icelandic Heart AssociationKopavogurIceland
  5. 5.Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and BiometryNational Institute on AgingBethesdaUSA
  6. 6.National Institute for Health and WelfareHelsinkiFinland
  7. 7.UTHSC School of Public HealthHoustonUSA
  8. 8.University of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  9. 9.Neuroepidemiology SectionNational Institute on AgingBethesdaUSA

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