Weight bearing during exercise plays an important role in improving the mechanical properties of bone. The effect on bone of non-weight-bearing exercise such as swimming remains controversial. To investigate the effects of exercise mode on growing bone, 29 male Wistar rats (7 wk old) were randomly assigned to a running exercise group (Run, n = 9), a swimming exercise group (Swim, n = 10), or a nonexercise control group (Con, n = 10). During an 8-wk training session (20-60 min/day, 5 days/wk), the Run rats were trained at progressively increasing running speeds (12-22 m/min), and weights attached to the tail of the Swim rats were progressively increased from 0 to 2% of their body weight. The bone mineral density of the proximal tibiae of the Run rats was significantly higher than in the Swim (P < 0.05). Femoral wet weights of the two exercise groups were significantly higher than in the control group (P < 0.05). Interestingly, the percent difference between the tissue wet weight and dry weight (water content ratio), which is related to bone mechanical properties, was significantly higher in the tibiae of the Swim rats and the femora of both exercise groups compared with controls (P < 0.05). Extrinsic as well as intrinsic biomechanical material properties were measured in a three-point bending test. Bone mechanical properties of the tibiae and femora of rats in the Swim and Run groups were significantly greater than those in the control group (P < 0.05). In summary, different modes of exercise may benefit bone mechanical properties in different ways. The specific effects of swimming exercise (non-weight-bearing exercise) on bone require further study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)