Category Archives: Swimming

Minimal Effect on Bones From Triathlon Training


Competitive season of triathlon does not alter bone metabolism and bone mineral status in male triathletes.

This longitudinal study evaluated the effects of a triathlon season on bone metabolism and hormonal status. Seven male competitive triathletes (mean age 19.3 years, range 18 – 20) with 5.0 +/- 0.3 years of competition experience were tested twice during the season: at the beginning of training and 32 weeks later. Total and regional bone mineral density (BMD) was determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, while bone turnover was evaluated by specific biochemical markers: bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (B-ALP), osteocalcin, and urinary type I collagen C-telopeptide. In addition, sexual, calciotropic and somatotropic hormones were also analyzed. After 32 weeks, a BMD increase was found at the lumbar spine (1.9 %; p = 0.031) and skull (3.1 %; p = 0.048), while no variation was observed for total body or at the proximal femur. The B-ALP level decreased (-23.2 %; p = 0.031), but no variation was found for the other bone markers. 1.25 (OH) (2)D3, IGF-1 and the bioavailability IGF-1 index (IGF-1/IGFBP-3) increased by 18.3 % (p = 0.047), 29 % (p = 0.048), 33 % (p = 0.011), respectively, while PTH, testosterone, IGFBP-3 and cortisol concentrations were unchanged. In conclusion, the triathlon season had a moderately favourable effect on BMD, although a slowing down of bone formation activity was observed. No variation in hormonal levels was observed that could have limited the effects of exercise on bone tissue.

Maïmoun L, Galy O, Manetta J, Coste O…
Int J Sports Med Apr 2004
PMID: 15088249

Volleyball and Basketball > Soccer and Track > Swimming


Weight-bearing exercise and markers of bone turnover in female athletes.

Weight-bearing activity provides an osteogenic stimulus, while effects of swimming on bone are unclear. We evaluated bone mineral density (BMD) and markers of bone turnover in female athletes (n = 41, age 20.7 yr) comparing three impact groups, high impact (High, basketball and volleyball, n = 14), medium impact (Med, soccer and track, n = 13), and nonimpact (Non, swimming, n = 7), with sedentary age-matched controls (Con, n = 7). BMD was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at the lumbar spine, femoral neck (FN), Ward’s triangle, and trochanter (TR); bone resorption estimated from urinary cross-linked N-telopeptides (NTx); and bone formation determined from serum osteocalcin. Adjusted BMD (g/cm; covariates: body mass index, weight, and calcium and calorie intake) was greater at the FN and TR in the High group (1.27 +/- 0.03 and 1.05 +/- 0.03) than in the
Non (1.05 +/- 0.04 and 0.86 +/- 0.04) and
Con (1.03 +/- 0.05 and 0.85 +/- 0.05) groups and greater at the TR in the
Med group (1.01 +/- 0.03) than in the
Non (0.86 +/- 0.04) and
Con (0.85 +/- 0.05) groups. Total body BMD was higher in the
High group (4.9 +/- 0.12) than in the
Med (4.5 +/- 0.12),
Non (4.2 +/- 0.14), and
Con (4.1 +/- 0.17) groups and greater in the Med group than in the Non and Con groups. Bone formation was lower in the
Non group (19.8 +/- 2.6) than in the
High (30.6 +/- 3.0) and
Med (32.9 +/- 1.9, P < or = 0.05) groups. No differences in a marker of bone resorption (NTx) were noted. This indicates that women who participate in impact sports such as volleyball and basketball had higher BMDs and bone formation values than female swimmers.

Creighton DL, Morgan AL, Boardley D, Brolinson PG
J. Appl. Physiol. Feb 2001
PMID: 11160054 | Free Full Text