Skeletal Responses to exercise

Skeletal responses to exercise - Short Term


1. increase in synovial fluid to synovial joint

  • helps to protect the joint
  • greater lubrication
  • synovial fluid becomes less viscous
  • increases range of movement
  • increased supply of nutrients for cartilage

2. increased uptake of minerals in the bones

  • increased absorption of calcium
  • bone density increased
1 of 9

Skeletal responses to exercise - Long Term


1. bone density and strength increased

  • through absorption of calcium
  • increased resistance to external force

2. ligament strength increased

  • more pliable / greater range of movement / less injury risk

3. Reduced risk of osteoporosis

4. Healthier joints due to increase in the thickness of articular cartilage

5. Reduced chance of injury because of greater ability to shock absorb

6. Reduced risk of developing arthritis in later life

2 of 9

Bone Growth

  • Bones start as cartilage/hardens through ossification
  • Osteoblasts form new bone
  • Osteoclasts absorb debris/break down the old bone
  • Epiphyseal plates/growth plates are the site of bone growth/seal off once bone is fully developed
3 of 9

Synovial Joints (Structure)

Ligaments - connect articulating bones / provide stability

Articular cartilage - found on ends of bones, stops bones rubbing together, shock absorber

Bursa - little fluid filled sacs, prevent friction, allow free movement, reduce injury risk

Joint capsule - holds synovial fluid in place

Synovial membrane - secretes synovial fluid

Synovial fluid - lubricates joints, provide nutrients for cartilage, reduce friction, shock absorber

4 of 9

Vertebrae / Postoral deviation

Vertebrae - cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, coccygeal

Kyphosis - rounding of upper back/shoulders/thoracic region/Hunched back

Scoliosis - spine sideways curve, shaped S or a C

5 of 9

Bone types / Skeletal functions

  • Long bones –  leverage for movement / provide strength structure and movement / red blood cell production, femur
  • Short bones – weight bearing / provide support and stability, tarsal + carpals
  • Flat bones – protection and / or provide large surface for muscle attachment, scapula
  • Sesamoid  - reduce friction across a joint, patella
  • Irregular - protection, vertebrae

Skeletal functions

  • Supprt framework - provides body shape
  • Protection - for vital organs, ribs (heart)
  • Attach muscles - tendons attach muscle to bones, across a joint, allows movement
  • Blood cell production, long bones, bone marrow in middle, 
  • Mineral storage - bone marrow stores calcium.
6 of 9


What is it

  • Arthritis causes inflammation/swelling
  • bones rub together
  • due to cartilage having been worn away.

playing sports helps:

  • Reduced risk of developing arthritis in later life
  • Joints are healthier due to increase in the thickness of articular cartilage
  • Bones will not rub together
  • Increased thickness of cartilage reduces chance of injury / greater shock absorbtion
  • Better lubrication of joints with synovial fluid
7 of 9

Osteoporosis / Age (children)

What is it

weakening of bones, by lack of calcium, age can cause this

Weight bearing exercise helps:

  • Stimulate the bones to take up minerals/calcium
  • Reduce the rate of bone loss
  • help maintain bone mass by making bones stronger/denser

Age (children)

Weight bearing exercise (resistance training), too much stress on bones damages epiphyseal plate, causes growth stunt. Not advised.

8 of 9


Anatomical Movements

Flexion / Extension

Dorsi flexion / Plantar flexion

Lateral Flexion

Horizontal Flexion / Horizontal Extension

Adduction / Abduction



9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sports Science resources:

See all Sports Science resources »See all Skeletal system resources »