Abstract Regular exercise and physical activity have many health benefits for both females and males. In particular, weight-bearing exercise has a protective effect on the skeleton, and can even be osteogenic (stimulating to bone formation). However, achievement of optimal bone mineral density and regulation of bone maintenance depend upon a combination of mechanical, hormonal and dietary factors. Adequate hormonal status (oestrogen and progesterone), and sufficient nutrition (calcium, protein, and other bone-building materials) are essential. For young women with components of the Female Athlete Triad (such as disordered eating, amenorrhea and other forms of menstrual dysfunction), one or more of these may be lacking, and decreased bone density can result. With an effort to maximize peak bone mineral density in the young athlete and to preserve or restore gonadal function during the reproductive years, the complications of altered bone mineral density and frank osteoporosis can be avoided.