It is known that people affected by osteopenia/osteoporosis can benefit from an adequate amount of physical activity, counteracting the progressive loss of bone and muscle mass caused by aging. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that exercise has positive effects on bone structure. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects on bone tissue and muscular strength of a short-term exercise program in osteopenic/osteoporotic postmenopausal women.
Forty-nine osteopenic/osteoporotic postmenopausal women were divided into 2 groups: exercise and control. All subjects underwent 2 evaluations: before and after a training period. Bone quality was assessed by phalangeal quantitative osteosonography, and maximal strength of leg extensor muscles was also evaluated. The experimental group participated in a specific supervised 20-week physical activity program that included aerobic, balance, and strength training.
After the training period, all bone parameters and lower-limb maximal strength were significantly improved in the exercise group (P < .05), whereas no significant changes were observed in the control group.
Our study showed that a broad-based training protocol, lasting 20 weeks, can improve leg strength and bone quality parameters—main determinants of fall and fracture risk, respectively.
The authors are with the Sport Medicine Unit, Dept of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Padova, Via Gattamelata, 64, 35128 Padova, Italy.