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Intense Workouts Preserve Bone

They reduce bone mineral density loss in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis

MONDAY, May 24, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Intense exercise may help prevent bone loss, reduce back pain and lower cholesterol levels in early postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

That's what a German study in the May 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine reports.

The study included 83 early postmenopausal women (average age 55) with osteoporosis. The women were not taking any medications and did not have diseases that affect bone metabolism.

Fifty of the women took part in a 26-month exercise program that consisted of two supervised group training sessions (60 to 70 minutes each) per week and two non-supervised home training sessions (25 minutes each) a week.

The other 33 women were in a non-exercise control group. Both groups of women were given calcium and vitamin D supplements. Researchers measured the women's physical fitness, bone mineral density (BMD), and blood lipid levels at the start and finish of the study.

At the end of the 26 months, the women in the exercise group were 36.5 percent more physically fit than they were at the start of the study. Women in the control group were 1.7 percent more fit by the end of the study.

BMD measurements remained stable for women in the exercise group while women in the control group showed decreases in BMD. Women in the exercise group experienced less pain than those in the control group and also had slightly reduced cholesterol levels.

"In this study, we showed that a long-term multipurpose exercise program with emphasis on bone density not only offsets bone loss, but also improves physical fitness and lower back pain and reduces some coronary heart disease risk factors in early postmenopausal women," the study authors wrote.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has advice on how to keep your bones healthy.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, May 24, 2004
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