News Release

March 11, 2005

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

Study Finds Resistance Training Improves Bone Density

Women Using Hormone Therapy Benefit

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Women on hormone replacement therapy can benefit from home-based resistance training to help improve low-bone mineral density, according to the results of a study published March 8 in the journal Osteoporosis International.

The study included 189 women, between ages 59 and 78, who participated in moderate resistance training of either the lower or upper body  extremities, using weight belts for lower body exercises, or elastic exercise bands and dumbbells for upper body exercises.

“Our original hypothesis was that femoral bone density would be increased with the lower body exercises,” said principal investigator James O. Judge, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center. “However, our results showed there was no difference overall between the two training programs, both were beneficial.”

The long-term moderate resistance training in both groups reversed bone loss, decreased bone turnover, increased femur bone mineral density, and maintained body composition as measured by percent of fat, according to study results. “Results were similar in both training programs, suggesting that the volume and intensity of the resistance training caused a systemic change in bone metabolism,” said Dr. Judge, “and that both exercise programs benefit bone health overall, rather than a site-specific response to training.”

The exercise programs were between 45 to 60 minutes long, three times a week, and were designed to provide similar intensity, duration and support from exercise leaders. Both groups were also encouraged to walk for approximately 45 minutes each week. Participants’ calcium intake was monitored, and they were provided with calcium citrate with vitamin D supplements.

“For many women, transportation and monthly fees are barriers to exercise,” said Dr. Judge. “This program involves minimal equipment costs, exercises can be done at home, and we’ve found that compliance in older people is high,” he said. “This results in a lower incidence of injuries, and that’s good news for women at risk for fracture.”

The exercise program tested, Powerful Aging, is an ongoing program for older adults at the Center on Aging at UConn Health Center. Information sessions and trial memberships are available. For more information and fee schedules, call 860-679-2846.

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