The acute effects of exercise on bone turnover

Int J Sports Med. 1997 May;18(4):247-51. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-972628.


Exercise is known to have long-term benefits on bone mass, but little is known about the short-term effects of exercise on bone turnover. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether acute effects of exercise on bone remodelling could be detected by measuring blood and urinary markers of bone turnover. We measured biochemical markers of bone turnover in ten healthy, young men before and up to 32 hours after 30 minutes of brisk treadmill walking. Blood samples were taken before, immediately after and at 0.5, 1, 8, 24 and 32 hours after the exercise. These were assayed for osteocalcin and bone specific alkaline phosphatase. Twenty-four hour urine samples were taken over three days (day before, day of and day after exercise) and measured for pyridinoline and deoxypyridinoline crosslinks. Crosslink excretion was standardised for total body bone mineral content (TBBMC) and urinary creatinine. Total body bone mineral density (and content) and body composition were measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. No changes in the levels of either osteocalcin or alkaline phosphatase were seen at any time point following the exercise. Both urinary crosslinks exhibited an increase in levels on the day of the exercise and a further significant increase the day after (pyridinoline 38.7%, p = 0.05; deoxypyridinoline 42.3%, p = 0.025; median, corrected for TBBMC). There were significant negative correlations between the crosslinks, osteocalcin and body fat percentage. In conclusion, the exercise appears to have stimulated bone resorption within 32 hours of moderate exercise, but there was no measurable effect on bone formation after 32 hours. A longer study period may be necessary to detect changes in bone formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adult
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Amino Acids / urine
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology
  • Bone Resorption / metabolism
  • Bone Resorption / physiopathology
  • Bone and Bones / enzymology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Osteogenesis
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*


  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Osteocalcin
  • pyridinoline
  • deoxypyridinoline
  • Creatinine
  • Alkaline Phosphatase