Exercise For Women Key To Avoiding Falls

Women age 65 or older who were assigned to an exercise program for 18 months appeared to have denser bones and a reduced risk of falls, but not a reduced cardiovascular disease risk, compared with women in a control group. 

Medical researchers at Freidrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany, studied a total of 246 older women. Half of the women exercised four days per week with special emphasis on intensity while the other half participated in a wellness program that focused on well-being.

Among the 227 women who completed the study, the 115 who exercised had higher bone density in their spine and hip, and also had a 66 percent reduced rate of falls.  Fall-related injuries including broken hips are a key cause of the need for long-term health care according to the non-profit trade organization, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance

Fracturesdue to falls were twice as common in the controls vs. the exercise group (12 vs. six). However, the 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease-assessed using the Framingham Risk Calculator, which incorporates factors such as cholesterol level, blood pressure and presence of diabetes-decreased in both groups and did not differ between the two.

Because this training regimen can be easily adopted by other institutions and health care providers, a broad implementation of this program is feasible.

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