Skip main navigation

How does physical activity affect our bone?

Eugene McCloskey talks us through a bone test with a physically active person and with an inactive person.

A skeleton that responds to physical activity is borne out of an evolutionary necessity – breaking bones is bad for survival but so too is a heavy skeleton that would prevent us from catching prey or evading predators. Our bones need to be strong enough to support the activity that we do, but not so strong that we are carrying around excessive weight. So how is this achieved?

In this video, Professor of Orthopaedic Biology at The University of Sheffield, Tim Skerry, explains the feedback mechanism that governs bone remodelling in which the bone cells sense the state of strain in the bone matrix around them and either add or remove bone as needed to maintain the strain within normal limits.

Over the next few steps, we will look in more detail into different types of exercise.

Are you surprised to hear that bone can respond to physical activity in this way?
This article is from the free online

The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active into Old Age

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now