Older women who exercise may have lower risk for developing osteoporosis

According to research from Oulu Deaconess Institute in Finland, older women with thinning bones who exercise regularly may have sustained improvements in their balance and walking speed, and could reduce their risk for osteoporosis.

The researchers had originally conducted a 30-month trial of an exercise intervention in 160 women with osteopenia, meaning they had some loss of bone density but not enough to constitute osteoporosis, Reuters reports. They found that the women who exercised walked more quickly and performed better on other measures of strength and stability than the women who didn't exercise.

Researchers also found that 20 minutes of at-home exercise daily, combined with six months of supervised weekly training every year, over the course of five years helped increase women's gait stability and cut their risk of fracture by 32 percent.

The improvements persisted for two years after the exercise program ended, with women who worked out also being at lower risk of sustaining hip fractures or dying during follow-up, according to Dr Raija Korpelainen of the department of sports and exercise medicine at Oulu Deaconess Institute.

Approximately eight million women and two million men have osteoporosis in the U.S., according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
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