Serum hormone levels and bone mineral status were studied in 18 sedentary and 15 endurance-trained postmenopausal women (mean age, 62 yr). The endurance-trained women had lower body weight, lower body fat, and higher aerobic capacity than the sedentary women (P less than 0.05). There were no differences in current calcium intake between the 2 groups, as assessed by a 7-day food record, but carbohydrate intake (grams per kg BW) was higher in the endurance-trained women (P less than 0.001). Bone mineral density (BMD) of the spine (L1-L3), proximal femur, and radius did not differ between the 2 groups; however, when normalized for body weight, the BMDs of the spine and radius were higher in the endurance-trained than in the sedentary women. Serum estrone and PTH levels were lower, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D and somatomedin-C levels were higher in the endurance-trained than in the sedentary women. Serum GH tended to be higher in the endurance-trained than in the sedentary women (P = 0.08), and there was a postexercise increase in serum GH in the endurance-trained, but not in the sedentary, women (P less than 0.01). The major effect of habitual exercise was on body weight and hormone status. Although leanness and low serum estrone levels are risk factors for osteoporosis, these were not associated with lower BMD in endurance-trained women. Endurance-trained women may have improved calcium absorption as a result of higher carbohydrate intake and higher serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels.