The intensity level of physical exercise and the bone metabolism response

Int J Sports Med. 2006 Feb;27(2):105-11. doi: 10.1055/s-2005-837621.


This study investigated the short-term effects of the intensity level of physical exercise on bone metabolism and related hormones. The responses of calciotropic hormones and bone biochemical markers were evaluated in seven male cyclists (mean age 24.4 years, range 20-39) during two 50-min cycling tests performed 15% below (-VT) and 15% above (+VT) the ventilatory threshold. In each test, venous blood samples were drawn at rest, at the 30th and 50th min of exercise, and after 15 min of recovery. For both intensity levels, no significant variation in calcium, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 1.25-dihydroxyvitamin D, or cortisol level was observed. Intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) level increased significantly after the last minute of the test (41%, p < 0.05) and peaked during the recovery (80%, p < 0.05) only in response to exercise performed at +VT. Serum phosphorus concentration rose during both tests, while albumin levels increased only at +VT. Concerning bone cell activity, osteocalcin, and type I-C telopeptide breakdown products transiently increased only in response to exercise performed at +VT (11% and 16.8%, respectively; p < 0.05). Bone alkaline phosphatase increased similarly for both intensity levels after 30 min (12%, p < 0.05) and 50 min (12% for -VT vs. 14% for +VT, p < 0.05). All markers of bone turnover returned to initial values during the recovery. In conclusion, a no-impact but intense and sustained exercise performed at +VT transiently stimulated bone turnover and iPTH secretion, suggesting the existence of a bone stimulation threshold. In addition to the well known effect of mechanical constraints, both the duration and intensity of exercise may induce changes in bone turnover.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albumins / metabolism
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Bicycling / physiology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Collagen Type I / blood
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Peptides / blood
  • Phosphorus / blood
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood


  • Albumins
  • Biomarkers
  • Collagen Type I
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Peptides
  • collagen type I trimeric cross-linked peptide
  • Osteocalcin
  • Vitamin D
  • Phosphorus
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Calcium
  • Hydrocortisone