Skeletal loading: lean and bone mass development in young elite male gymnasts, swimmers and non-athletes aged 6 to 24 years.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Exercise optimises peak bone mass accrual, particularly if the loading is high magnitude and distributed in abnormal directions. Little is known about the influence of early intense training in sport during peak bone mass (PBM) accrual, especially in boys.
Methods: Ninety-eight males aged 6 - 24y: (gymnasts, swimmers, controls) completed the bone-specific physical activity questionnaire (BPAQ) and a 7 day exercise diary. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry determined bone mineral properties of the total body (less head, TBLH) and lumbar spine (LS, L1-L4), and total lean mass. Sub-group analyses were conducted for juniors (pre-pubescent), adolescents (11- 16 y) and seniors (17-24 y).
Results: Lean mass was positively associated with TBLH and LS bone outcomes in all three age groups (R2= 0.632 - 0.770, p < 0.05) and BPAQ scores were associated with LS BMD in adolescents and seniors (R2 = 0.440 and 0.591, p < 0.05). Senior gymnasts had significantly higher LS BMD (g.cm2) and Z-scores than swimmers (p = 0.004) and controls (p = 0.012).
Conclusions: Elite gymnastics is associated with superior peak bone mass accrual in young males. The benefits appear more pronounced during young adulthood compared to pre-puberty, potentially reflecting an extended time course for bone adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Exercise Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Jul 2024

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