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Exercise to prevent hip fractures

Submitted by shelbydburns on Tue 09/28/2010 - 11:59

Researchers in Finland have now shown that moderate exercise done at home once a week specifically for balance training and leg strengthening can greatly reduce the risks for hip fractures, especially in older women who suffer from osteoporosis.

“Falls are responsible for at least 90% of all hip fractures,” the authors write in the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA journals, where the long term study was published. “Hip fractures place the greatest demands on resources and have the greatest effect on patients because they are associated with high mortality rates and increased morbidity.” Raija Korpelainen PhD, of Oulu Deaconess Institute, Oulu, Finland, and colleagues performed extended follow up and research of 160 women who participated in the study. The purpose of the research was to reduce risk factors for fractures in elderly women, especially those with osteo disorders.

Of the 160 women, 84 were put in an exercise group, while the balance were left alone in the control group. The 84 women attended exercise classes focused on balance, leg strength and impact training for once a week over six months in each year from 1998 through 2001. The program provided a total of 30 months of supervised exercise followed by directions to continue voluntarily at home. The observation time was lengthy at 7.1 years.

At the end of the study, 17 women in the exercise group had suffered fractures compared to 23 in the control group. The authors reported that “fractures were proximal in 52.2 percent of the control group and 17.6 percent of the exercise group. Moderate lifelong physical activity decreased the overall risk of having any fractures during the total follow-up period.” Remarkably, there were no hip fractures in the exercise group.

There was one death in the exercise group during the study and seven in the control group. “Furthermore mortality was significantly lower in the exercise group than in the control group during the extended follow-up period. Regular daily physical activity should be recommended to elderly women with osteopenia,” the report states.

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, ScienceDaily


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