Aerobic workout and bone mass in females


Ronny Lorentzon, Sports Medicine Unit, University of UmeB, S-90185 UmeB, Sweden


This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate bone mass in females participating in aerobic workout. Twenty-three females (age 24.1±2.7 years), participating in aerobic workout for about 3 hours/week, were compared with 23 age-, weight- and height-matched non-active females. Areal bone mineral density (BMD) was measured in total body, head, whole dominant humerus, lumbar spine, right femoral neck, Ward's triangle, trochanter femoris, in specific sites in right femur diaphysis, distal femur, proximal tibia and tibial diaphysis, and bone mineral content (BMC) was measured in the whole dominant arm and right leg, using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The aerobic workout group had significantly (P<0.05–0.01) higher BMD in total body (3.7%), lumbar spine (7.8%), femoral neck (11.6%), Ward's triangle (11.7%), trochanter femoris (9.6%), proximal tibia (6.8%) and tibia diaphysis (5.9%) compared to the non-active controls. There were no differences between the groups concerning BMD of the whole dominant humerus, femoral diaphysis, distal femur and BMC and lean mass of the whole dominant arm and right leg. Leaness of the whole dominant arm and leg was correlated to BMC of the whole dominant arm and right leg in both groups. In young females, aerobic workout containing alternating high and low impact movements for the lower body is associated with a higher bone mass in clinically important sites like the lumbar spine and hip, but muscle strengthening exercises like push-ups and soft-glove boxing are not associated with a higher bone mass in the dominant humerus. It appears that there is a skeletal adaptation to the loads of the activity.