Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2018) 17, 245 - 258

Review article
Effects of Gymnastics Activities on Bone Accrual during Growth: A Systematic Review
Jaak Jürimäe1, , Rita Gruodyte-Raciene2, Adam D. G. Baxter-Jones3
Author Information
1 Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
2 Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania
3 College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Jaak Jürimäe
✉ Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tartu, 18. Ülikooli St., Tartu 50090, Estonia
Publish Date
Received: 20-12-2017
Accepted: 28-03-2018
Published (online): 14-05-2018
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The amount of bone gained during childhood and adolescence impacts greatly on lifetime skeletal health. The purpose of this review is to summarize current evidence of the effects of gymnastics activities on bone mineral accrual during growth and to describe possible factors that influence bone mineral gains. The PubMed and SportDiscus databases were searched, and a total of 24 articles met the selection criteria and were included in this review. Artistic and rhythmic gymnasts presented higher bone mineral density and content values compared to untrained controls, despite possible negative effects associated with hormonal levels, dietary restrictions and body fat. The results suggest that gymnasts had similar bone turnover values compared to untrained controls. High-intensity mechanical loading of gymnastics activity appears to increase bone development and counterbalance negative effects, such as later pubertal development, lower body fat mass and lower hormone levels. In conclusion, gymnasts present higher bone mineral values in comparison with untrained controls. The osteogenic effect of gymnastics athletic activity has a positive influence on bone mineral accrual and overcomes the possible negative influence of high athletic activity that may cause negative energy balance and low body fat mass which are associated with lower bone accrual.

Key words: Gymnasts, training, growth and maturation, bone mineral accrual, bone turnover

           Key Points
  • Children and adolescent gymnasts present higher bone mineral density and content values compared to untrained controls, despite a variety of possible negative factors.
  • Gymnastics activity with high-impact mechanical loading appears to be especially osteogenic to achieve maximum possible peak bone accrual during growth and maturation.
  • Skeletal benefits of gymnastics activity in childhood are maintained for several years after retirement from gymnastics trainings in young adulthood.
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