Wimbledon Clinics

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Older women with low bone mass benefit from intense training

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High intensity exercise is beneficial and safe for older women, according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

In a trial involving 101 postmenopausal women with low bone mass, the researchers found that just 30 minutes twice a week of high intensity resistance and impact training improved bone density, structure and strength, as well as functional performance, without adverse effects.

Such training is not traditionally recommended for individuals with osteoporosis because of a perceived high risk of fracture.

However, the results indicate that closely supervised exercise training interventions of this type are effective and safe for bone.

“We were delighted to find that even women with very low bone mass could tolerate the high loading required to increased bone mineral density as long as it was introduced gradually with close attention to technique,” said Dr Belinda Beck, senior author of the study. “The simultaneous improvement in functional performance suggests our exercise programme provides dual protection from osteoporotic fracture by also preventing falls.”

A separate study published online in The FASEB Journal suggests that resistance training may also prevent age-related tendon problems, such as ruptures and tendinopathies.

Using different groups of sedentary and resistance-trained rats, scientists discovered that the tendons of trained rats showed fewer signs of age-related damage than their sedentary counterparts.

“The relationship between ageing and tendon disorders is not well documented,” commented Rita de Cassia Marqueti Durigan, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Rehabilitation Science Programme at the University of Brasilia in Brazil. “To restrain and revert the deleterious ageing process, resistance training can be used as an important tool to prevent degeneration and even restore tendon functions.”

“It seems very plausible that the findings from this well-designed study are applicable to the comparable human situation, so the clinical potential is very significant,” added Thoru Pederson, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal.