The effect of swimming on bone modeling and composition in young adult rats

Aaron Swissa-Sivan*, Reouven Azoury, Marian Statter, Issac Leichter, Abraham Nyska, Meir Nyska, Jacob Menczel, Shlomo Samueloff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to investigate the adaptability of long bones of young adult rats to the stress of chronic aquatic exercise. Twenty-eight female Sabra rats (12 weeks old) were randomly assigned to two groups and treatments: exercise (14 rats) and sedentary control (14 rats) matched for age and weight. Exercised animals were trained to swim in a water bath (35°±1°C, 1 hour daily 5 times a week) for 12 weeks loaded with lead weights on their tails (2% of their body weight) (BW). At the end of the training period following blood sampling for alkaline phosphatase, all rats were sacrificed and the humeri and tibiae bones were removed for the following measurements: bone morphometry, bone water compartmentalization, bone density (BD), bone mineral content (BMC), and bone ions content (Ca, Pi, Mg, Zn). The results indicate that exercise did not significantly affect the animals' body weight, bone volume, or length and diameters. However, bone hydration properties, BD, bone mass, and mineralization revealed significant differences between swim-trained rats and controls (P<0.05). Longitudinal (R1) measurement was higher by 43% for both humerus and tibia, and Transverse (R2) relaxation rates of hydrogen proton were higher by 117 and 76% for humerus and tibia, respectively; fraction of bound water was higher by 36 and 46% for humerus and tibia, respectively. BD, bone weight, and ash were higher by 13%. BMC and bone ions content were higher by 10%, and alkaline phosphatase was higher by 67%. These results indicate that long bones of young adult rats after the age of rapid growth can adapt positively to nonweight-bearing aquatic exercise. This adaptation is evident by an increase in bone mass, density, mineralization, and hydration properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-177
Number of pages5
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone density
  • Bone mineral content
  • Bound water
  • Exercise
  • Hydrated fraction


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