Asked by: Yasmin Caine, Cheshire
Tendons are connective tissue structures that attach muscles to bones, allowing us to move our joints. They consist mainly of collagen strands, twisted together to give fibres, which in turn form bundles. Their 3D structure allows them to withstand forces pulling in different directions. Tendons are remarkably strong but prone to injury. Resistance exercise can strengthen tendons, although they take longer to respond than muscles. Studies on mice with mini-treadmills has shown that exercise increases collagen turnover in tendons, as well as encouraging blood flow. Unfortunately, research suggests that the collagen-boosting effects of exercise are less prominent in women than in men.
Dr Emma Davies is a science writer and editor with a PhD in food chemistry from the University of Leeds. She writes about all aspects of chemistry, from food and the environment to toxicology and regulatory science.