Osteoporosis International

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 455–463 | Cite as

Intensity of exercise is associated with bone density change in premenopausal women

  • A. Vainionpää
  • R. Korpelainen
  • E. Vihriälä
  • A. Rinta–Paavola
  • J. Leppäluoto
  • T. Jämsä
Original Article



High-impact exercise is known to be beneficial for bones. However, the optimal amount of exercise is not known. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the association between the intensity of exercise and bone mineral density (BMD).


We performed a 12-month population–based trial with 120 women (aged 35–40 years) randomly assigned to an exercise group or to a control group. The intensity of the physical activity of 64 women was assessed with an accelerometer–based body movement monitor. The daily activity was analyzed at five acceleration levels (0.3–1.0 g, 1.1–2.4 g, 2.5–3.8 g, 3.9–5.3 g, and 5.4–9.2 g). BMD was measured at the hip, spine (L1–L4), and radius by dual-energy x–ray absorptiometry. The calcaneus was measured using quantitative ultrasound.


Physical activity that induced acceleration levels exceeding 3.9 g correlated positively with the BMD change in the hip area (p<0.05–0.001). L1 BMD change correlated positively with activity exceeding 5.4 g (p<0.05) and calcaneal speed of sound with the level of 1.1–2.4 g (p< 0.05). Baseline BMD was negatively associated with the BMD change at the hip.


The intensity of exercise, measured as the acceleration level of physical activity, was significantly correlated with BMD changes. Bone stimulation is reached during normal physical exercise in healthy premenopausal women. In the hip area, the threshold level for improving BMD is less than 100 accelerations per day at levels exceeding 3.9 g.


Accelerometry Body movement monitor High-impact exercise Osteoporosis Physical activity Prevention 



The authors would like to express their special thanks to Minna Tervo, the physiotherapist in our study team, for her dedication and hard work in supervising the training and testing of our subjects. We thank Pentti Nieminen, Ph.D., for statistical advice, and the staff of the Department of Sports Medicine at Oulu Deaconess Institute for their assistance. Lastly, we gratefully acknowledge the dedicated women who participated in this study. The study was supported by the National Technology Agency of Finland; Newtest Ltd., Oulu, Finland; CCC Group, Oulunsalo, Finland; Fastrax Ltd., Vantaa, Finland; the Juho Vainio Foundation, Helsinki, Finland; Instrumentarium Research Foundation, Helsinki, Finland; the Research Foundation of the Institutes of Sports, Helsinki, Finland; and the Finnish Foundation for Sports Research, Helsinki, Finland. The companies have no control on the conduct or the publication of the study. J. Leppäluoto, T. Jämsä, and R. Korpelainen have a patent application with Newtest Ltd.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Vainionpää
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • R. Korpelainen
    • 3
    • 4
  • E. Vihriälä
    • 1
    • 5
  • A. Rinta–Paavola
    • 6
  • J. Leppäluoto
    • 2
  • T. Jämsä
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical TechnologyUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  3. 3.Department of Sports MedicineDeaconess Institute of OuluOuluFinland
  4. 4.Department of Public Health and General PracticeUniversity of Oulu and Oulu University HospitalOuluFinland
  5. 5.Optoelectronics and Measurement LaboratoryUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  6. 6.Newtest LtdOuluFinland

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