Intensive resistance training is effective and safe for some women with osteoporosis, research group discovers
High-intensity resistance and impact training may improve bone and muscle strength in select postmenopausal women who have osteoporosis, according to a small study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
Current osteoporosis exercise guidelines advise only moderate-intensity exercises for people with osteoporosis because heavy training could damage fragile bones.
A research team recently looked at data from 101 postmenopausal women aged 58 years or older. Half of the women did 30-minute sessions of supervised exercises twice a week for eight months, which included deadlifts, overhead presses, squats and jumping chin ups with drop landings. The other women did unsupervised, twice-weekly 30-minute low-intensity exercise at home for eight months.
The women had bone mineral density scans before and after the training programme.
After the eight months of exercise, those in the high intensity group had increased bone mineral density in their spines by around 3% and in their hips by 2%. They also had a 40% improvement in back and leg extensor strength. Those in the low intensity group lost an average of 1% bone mineral density in their spines and more than 2% in their hips.
“Contrary to current opinion, high-intensity resistance and impact training was efficacious and induced no adverse events under highly supervised conditions for our sample of otherwise healthy postmenopausal women with low to very low bone mass,” the authors explain.
However, the study is too small to result in a change in guidelines and people with osteoporosis or osteopenia should avoid stress fractures by taking exercise based upon their individual condition.
Click here to read the original research.
For more on exercising with osteoporosis, visit the National Osteoporosis Society.
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