Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine ( 2010 ) 09 , 612 - 619

Research article
Swimming Enhances Bone Mass Acquisition in Growing Female Rats
Joanne McVeigh , Steven Kingsley, David Gray, Lisa Carole Loram
Author Information
Exercise Laboratory, School of Physiology, Medical School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Joanne McVeigh
✉ Exercise Laboratory, School of Physiology, Wits Medical School, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown, 2193, South Africa
Email: Jo-anne.McVeigh@wits.ac.za
Publish Date
Received: 04-06-2010
Accepted: 21-09-2010
Published (online): 01-12-2010
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ABSTRACT

Growing bones are most responsive to mechanical loading. We investigated bone mass acquisition patterns following a swimming or running exercise intervention of equal duration, in growing rats. We compared changes in bone mineral properties in female Sprague Dawley rats that were divided into three groups: sedentary controls (n = 10), runners (n = 8) and swimmers (n = 11). Runners and swimmers underwent a six week intervention, exercising five days per week, 30min per day. Running rats ran on an inclined treadmill at 0.33 m.s−1, while swimming rats swam in 250C water. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scans measuring bone mineral content (BMC), bone mineral density (BMD) and bone area at the femur, lumbar spine and whole body were recorded for all rats before and after the six week intervention. Bone and serum calcium and plasma parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations were measured at the end of the 6 weeks. Swimming rats had greater BMC and bone area changes at the femur and lumbar spine (p < 0.05) than the running rats and a greater whole body BMC and bone area to that of control rats (p < 0.05). There were no differences in bone gain between running and sedentary control rats. There was no significant difference in serum or bone calcium or PTH concentrations between the groups of rats. A swimming intervention is able to produce greater beneficial effects on the rat skeleton than no exercise at all, suggesting that the strains associated with swimming may engender a unique mechanical load on the bone.

Key words: Weight-bearing exercise, swimming, treadmill, DXA, bone mass, rats.


           Key Points
  • A six week swimming intervention is able to produce greater osteogenic effects on the rat skeleton than no exercise.
  • A daily treadmill running intervention does not attenuate a rats propensity to run voluntarily at night.
 
 
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