This study investigated the effects of endurance running training on the bones of growing rats. Thirty-two male Wistar rats (7 weeks old) were assigned to a sedentary control group (CON, n = 10), a continuous endurance running group (CEN, n = 10), or an intermittent endurance running group (IEN, n = 12). After an 8-week training period, both exercise groups had significantly less body weight (BW) gain but higher aerobic capacity, shown by increased muscle citrate synthase (CS) activity. Bone area (BA), areal bone mineral density (aBMD), and bone mineral content (BMC) were measured by dual-energy Xray absorptiometry (DXA) in the total femur and sections of femora. Except for showing a significantly higher aBMD in total femora, the CON group was only slightly and nonsignificantly higher in other DXA measurements. In tissue weight measurements, the CON group showed a nonsignificantly higher tissue dry weight (P = 0.146), but a significantly lower tissue water content ratio (WCR, %) as compared to the exercise group. Despite having nonsignificantly lower long bone cross-sectional parameters, both exercise groups showed significantly better biomaterial properties, as measured by a three-point bending test. In extrinsic analysis, femora of the two exercise groups showed no difference in bending load and stiffness, but were significantly higher in post-yield bending energy and total ultimate bending energy (P < 0.05). Similar phenomena were revealed in tissue-level measurements; the CEN and IEN groups were significantly higher in ultimate toughness and post-yield toughness (P < 0.05). Higher post-yield energy shown by two exercise groups implied a change in bone matrix organization. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that two endurance treadmill training modes benefit bone, with subjects showing better tissue biomaterial properties without significantly increasing aBMD, BMC, or bone dimension. Further study would be valuable to investigate the effects of endurance running on other components of bone, such as organization of bone matrix and its relationship with bone biomaterial properties.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine