The effects of acute exercise on bone turnover markers in middle-aged and older adults: A systematic review

Cassandra Smith, Alexander Tacey, Jakub Mesinovic, David Scott, Xuzhu Lin, Tara C. Brennan-Speranza, Joshua R. Lewis, Gustavo Duque, Itamar Levinger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Bone turnover is the cellular machinery responsible for bone integrity and strength and, in the clinical setting, it is assessed using bone turnover markers (BTMs). Acute exercise can induce mechanical stress on bone which is needed for bone remodelling, but to date, there are conflicting results in regards to the effects of varying mechanical stimuli on BTMs. Objectives: This systematic review examines the effects of acute aerobic, resistance and impact exercises on BTMs in middle and older-aged adults and examines whether the responses are determined by the exercise mode, intensity, age and sex. Methods: We searched PubMed, SCOPUS, Web of Science and EMBASE up to 22nd April 2020. Eligibility criteria included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and single-arm studies that included middle-aged (50 to 65 years) and older adults (>65 years) and, a single-bout, acute-exercise (aerobic, resistance, impact) intervention with measurement of BTMs. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020145359. Results: Thirteen studies were included; 8 in middle-aged (n = 275, 212 women/63 men, mean age = 57.9 ± 1.5 years) and 5 in older adults (n = 93, 50 women/43 men, mean age = 68.2 ± 2.2 years). Eleven studies included aerobic exercise (AE, 7 middle-aged/4 older adults), and two included resistance exercise (RE, both middle-aged). AE significantly increased C-terminal telopeptide (CTX), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and bone-ALP in middle-aged and older adults. AE also significantly increased total osteocalcin (tOC) in middle-aged men and Procollagen I Carboxyterminal Propeptide and Cross-Linked Carboxyterminal Telopeptide of Type I Collagen in older women. RE alone decreased ALP in older adults. In middle-aged adults, RE with impact had no effect on tOC or BALP, but significantly decreased CTX. Impact (jumping) exercise alone increased Procollagen Type 1 N Propeptide and tOC in middle-aged women. Conclusion: Acute exercise is an effective tool to modify BTMs, however, the response appears to be exercise modality-, intensity-, age- and sex-specific. There is further need for higher quality and larger RCTs in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115766
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


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