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High bone mineral density in lifelong trained female team handball players and young elite football players

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PURPOSE: Low bone mineral density (BMD) and fractures are a major concern in the female population and preventative strategies are needed. Whether team sports participation may reduce age-related bone loss in elderly women is still uncertain.

METHODS: One hundred and thirty healthy, non-smoking women participated in this cross-sectional study, i.e., elderly (60-80 years) team handball players (EH, n = 35), elderly untrained controls (EC, n = 35), young (18-30 years) elite football players (YF, n = 30) and young untrained controls (YC, n = 30). A whole-body and two regional dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans were performed to evaluate BMD and a blood sample was collected for measurement of bone turnover markers (BTMs).

RESULTS: EH had higher BMD in all regions of the lumbar spine, except for L1, compared to EC (8-10%), and higher BMD in the femoral Ward's triangle (9%) and trochanter (7%) of the left leg. Furthermore, EH had higher mean leg BMD (8%) and whole-body BMD (5%) than EC. EH and YC had similar BMD in femoral trochanter, L1-L4 and mean leg despite an age difference of ~ 40 years. YF had higher BMD in all regions of the proximal femur (18-29%) and lumbar spine (12-16%) compared to YC, as well as higher mean leg BMD (20%) and whole-body BMD (13%). Sclerostin was 14% lower in EH compared to EC. YF showed higher PINP (98%), osteocalcin (57%), and CTX (83%) compared to YC.

CONCLUSION: Lifelong team handball training and elite football training are associated with superior bone mineralization and changed bone turnover in elderly and young women.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Volume121
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)2825-2836
Number of pages12
ISSN1439-6319
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

    Research areas

  • Bone health, Bone turnover markers, Lifelong exercise training, Master athletes, Soccer, Static postural balance

ID: 67651065