, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 289-294

How many days per week should rats undergo running exercise to increase BMD?

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The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of different frequencies of running exercise on increasing bone mineral density (BMD) and improving bone histomorphology at various sites of the skeleton (tibia, femur, and second lumbar vertebra) in young rats. Twenty-five female Wistar rats, 8 weeks old, were divided into five groups, of 5 animals each according to running load: control group, no running (A group); running load (RL), 4 days per week (d/w; B group); RL, 5 d/w (C group); RL, 6 d/w (D group); and RL, 7 d/w (E group). Rats ran on a treadmill at a speed of 15 m/min for 30 min per day over an 8-week period. The results indicated that the BMD of the tibia in the B, C, D, and E groups and that of the femur in the B and E groups increased significantly over that of the A group. However, the cortical BMD and trabecular BMD of the second lumbar vertebra did not change. In regard to bone histomorphometry of the tibia, a parameter of bone resorption (eroded surface/bone surface) was significantly lower in the B and D groups than in the A group. There were no differences in the parameters of bone formation. Tartaric acid-resistant acid phosphatase (TRACP) values were significantly lower in the B and C groups than in the A group. There were significant increases in body weight in the B group and in muscle weight in the C group. From the data obtained in this study, it was concluded that increases in BMD were obtained by a moderate running load at frequencies of 4 and 5 days per week.