EXERCISE INCREASES BONE MASS IN HEALTHY POSTMENOPAUSAL WOMEN
Lack of exercise can exacerbate osteoporosis, especially in white postmenopausal women, the class most subject to this degenerative disease. An interesting study1 was recently done in Canada using 48 healthy postmenopausal white women aged 50-62. They were randomly divided into three groups: first, controls with no added program; second, those using aerobic exercise; third, those using aerobic exercise plus mild weight training.
These programs were followed three times a week for a year in the hospital gymnasium with 70 percent attendance. None of the women took medications containing estrogens, vitamin D, or calcium. Instead, "they adhered to their regular (North American) diet with an average intake of 0.5-1.0 g calcium daily."
Bone mass was measured by "neutron-activation analysis and expressed as calcium bone index" at the outset of the program and after a year of compliance. Exciting to report, both exercising groups had a statistically significant increase in bone mass in contrast with the control group, which averaged a slight loss in bone mass at the end of the year.
1Chow, R., J.E. Harrison, C. Notarius, "Effect of two randomized exercise programs on bone mass of healthy postmenopausal women," British Medical Journal, 285:1441-44, December 5, 1987.Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XIII, No. 4, Fall 1988, pages 5-6