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  • Resistance Training Effective in Countering Bone Density Loss, but Only When Combined With High-Impact, Weight-Bearing Exercise

    Nondrug approaches to preserving bone mineral density (BMD) in women postmenopause can be effective—but only if the training includes high-impact or weight-bearing exercise in addition to progressive resistance training, according to a new meta-analysis of 24 studies.

    Researchers analyzed results from the studies—5 controlled trials and 19 randomized controlled trials involving 1,769 women who were postmenopausal—to determine the effects of physical training on bone density, particularly in the spine and hip. Participants were limited to women who did not engage in regular exercise prior to study enrollment, and who were not receiving hormone replacement therapy or antiresorptive treatment. BMD outcomes were measured by way of X-ray or photon absorptiometry.

    "Protocols that included only resistance training did not generate significant effects on BMD in older women," authors write. No studies were limited to high-impact or weight-bearing training alone—but significant improvements were found when these interventions were included as part of a "combined resistance training" approach.

    "It was estimated that the beneficial effects induced by combined resistance training could contribute to almost 1.8% and 2.4% BMD gains for the hip and spine in postmenopausal women," authors write. "The training-related increase in BMD effectively prevented bone loss and greatly benefited postmenopausal women at risk for fracture."

    Researchers included activities such as jumping, skipping, dancing, and hopping among the high-impact, weight-bearing activities that contributed to increases in BMD when combined with progressive resistance training.

    Authors acknowledge questions about the safety of combined resistance training for older women, but write that the incidence of injury in the studies they reviewed was "very low," possibly due to the fact that most of the training was supervised. And while they write that "caution is advised when resistance training is performed at home," they conclude that data support the idea that resistance training is "a feasible nonpharmacological strategy for preventing postmenopausal bone loss." The study appears in the January 21 online edition of Osteoporosis International (abstract only available for free).

    Research-related stories featured in PT in Motion News are intended to highlight a topic of interest only and do not constitute an endorsement by APTA. For synthesized research and evidence-based practice information, visit the association's PTNow website.

    Comments

    • This information is great and very helpful for maintaining good health specially to the bones.Thank you for sharing the information.

      Posted by Excel ER on 8/27/2015 1:52 AM

    • What is the difference between resistance training and load bearing exercise?

      Posted by Eric Kenyon on 4/8/2019 10:26 PM

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