The role of exercise intensity in the bone metabolic response to an acute bout of weight-bearing exercise

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2011 Feb;110(2):423-32. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00764.2010. Epub 2010 Dec 2.


We compared the effects of exercise intensity (EI) on bone metabolism during and for 4 days after acute, weight-bearing endurance exercise. Ten males [mean ± SD maximum oxygen uptake (Vo(2max)): 56.2 ± 8.1 ml·min(-1)·kg(-1)] completed three counterbalanced 8-day trials. Following three control days, on day 4, subjects completed 60 min of running at 55%, 65%, and 75% Vo(2max). Markers of bone resorption [COOH-terminal telopeptide region of collagen type 1 (β-CTX)] and formation [NH(2)-terminal propeptides of procollagen type 1 (P1NP), osteocalcin (OC), bone-alkaline phosphatase (ALP)], osteoprotegerin (OPG), parathyroid hormone (PTH), albumin-adjusted calcium (ACa), phosphate (PO(4)), and cortisol were measured during and for 3 h after exercise and on four follow-up days (FU1-FU4). At 75% Vo(2max), β-CTX was not significantly increased from baseline by exercise but was higher compared with 55% (17-19%, P < 0.01) and 65% (11-13%, P < 0.05) Vo(2max) in the first hour postexercise. Concentrations were decreased from baseline in all three groups by 39-42% (P < 0.001) at 3 h postexercise but not thereafter. P1NP increased (P < 0.001) during exercise only, while bone-ALP was increased (P < 0.01) at FU3 and FU4, but neither were affected by EI. PTH and cortisol increased (P < 0.001) with exercise at 75% Vo(2max) only and were higher (P < 0.05) than at 55% and 65% Vo(2max) during and immediately after exercise. The increases (P < 0.001) in OPG, ACa, and PO(4) with exercise were not affected by EI. Increasing EI from 55% to 75% Vo(2max) during 60 min of running resulted in higher β-CTX concentrations in the first hour postexercise but had no effect on bone formation markers. Increased bone-ALP concentrations at 3 and 4 days postexercise suggest a beneficial effect of this type of exercise on bone mineralization. The increase in OPG was not influenced by exercise intensity, whereas PTH was increased at 75% Vo(2max) only, which cannot be fully explained by changes in serum calcium or PO(4) concentrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*
  • Young Adult