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Osteoporos Int. 2013 Jul;24(7):2033-42. doi: 10.1007/s00198-012-2234-0. Epub 2012 Dec 15.

Bone density and neuromuscular function in older competitive athletes depend on running distance.

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  • 1Centre for Muscle and Bone Research, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12203 Berlin, Germany. ulf.gast@charite.de

Abstract

Individuals who are involved in explosive sport types, such as 100-m sprints and long jump, have greater bone density, leg muscle size, jumping height and grip strength than individuals involved in long-distance running.

INTRODUCTION:

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between different types of physical activity with bone, lean mass and neuromuscular performance in older individuals.

METHODS:

We examined short- (n = 50), middle- (n = 19) and long-distance (n = 109) athletes at the 15th European Masters Championships in Poznań, Poland. Dual X-ray absorptiometry was used to measure areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and lean tissue mass. Maximal countermovement jump, multiple one-leg hopping and maximal grip force tests were performed.

RESULTS:

Short-distance athletes showed significantly higher aBMD at the legs, hip, lumbar spine and trunk compared to long-distance athletes (p ≤ 0.0012). Countermovement jump performance, hop force, grip force, leg lean mass and arm lean mass were greater in short-distance athletes (p ≤ 0.027). A similar pattern was seen in middle-distance athletes who typically showed higher aBMD and better neuromuscular performance than long-distance athletes, but lower in magnitude than short-distance athletes. In all athletes, aBMD was the same or higher than the expected age-adjusted population mean at the lumbar spine, hip and whole body. This effect was greater in the short- and middle-distance athletes.

CONCLUSIONS:

The stepwise relation between short-, middle- and long-distance athletes on bone suggests that the higher-impact loading protocols in short-distance disciplines are more effective in promoting aBMD. The regional effect on bone, with the differences between the groups being most marked at load-bearing regions (legs, hip, spine and trunk) rather than non-load-bearing regions, is further evidence in support of the idea that bone adaptation to exercise is dependent upon the local loading environment, rather than as part of a systemic effect.

PMID:
23242430
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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