Osteoporosis International

, Volume 23, Issue 10, pp 2517–2526 | Cite as

Self-reported recreational exercise combining regularity and impact is necessary to maximize bone mineral density in young adult women

A population-based study of 1,061 women 25 years of age
  • M. Callréus
  • F. McGuigan
  • K. Ringsberg
  • K. ÅkessonEmail author
Original Article



Recreational physical activity in 25-year-old women in Sweden increases bone mineral density (BMD) in the trochanter by 5.5% when combining regularity and impact. Jogging and spinning were especially beneficial for hip BMD (6.4–8.5%). Women who enjoyed physical education in school maintained their higher activity level at age 25.


The aims of this study were to evaluate the effects of recreational exercise on BMD and describe how exercise patterns change with time in a normal population of young adult women.


In a population-based study of 1,061 women, age 25 (±0.2), BMD was measured at total body (TB-BMD), femoral neck (FN-BMD), trochanter (TR-BMD), and spine (LS-BMD). Self-reported physical activity status was assessed by questionnaire. Regularity of exercise was expressed as recreational activity level (RAL) and impact load as peak strain score (PSS). A permutation (COMB-RP) was used to evaluate combined endurance and impacts on bone mass.


More than half of the women reported exercising on a regular basis and the most common activities were running, strength training, aerobics, and spinning. Seventy percent participated in at least one activity during the year. Women with high RAL or PSS had higher BMD in the hip (2.6–3.5%) and spine (1.5–2.1%), with the greatest differences resulting from PSS (p < 0.001–0.02). Combined regularity and impact (high-COMB-RP) conferred the greatest gains in BMD (FN 4.7%, TR 5.5%, LS 3.1%; p < 0.001) despite concomitant lower body weight. Jogging and spinning were particularly beneficial for hip BMD (+6.4–8.5%). Women with high-COMB-RP scores enjoyed physical education in school more and maintained higher activity levels throughout compared to those with low scores.


Self-reported recreational levels of physical activity positively influence BMD in young adult women but to maximize BMD gains, regular, high-impact exercise is required. Enjoyment of exercise contributes to regularity of exercising which has short- and long-term implications for bone health.


Bone mineral density Ground reaction force Impact load Physical activity Young females 



This work was supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council (K2009-53X-14691-07-3), FAS (Grant 2007-2125), Grant Greta and Johan Kock Foundation, A Påhlsson Foundation, A Osterlund Foundation, the H Järnhardt Foundation, King Gustav V and Queen Victoria Foundation, Malmö University Hospital Research Foundation, Swedish Centre for Sports Medicine Research, Research and Development Council of Region Skåne, Sweden, and the Swedish Medical Society.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Callréus
    • 1
  • F. McGuigan
    • 1
  • K. Ringsberg
    • 1
  • K. Åkesson
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsLund University, Skåne University HospitalMalmöSweden

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