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Br J Sports Med. Feb 2000; 34(1): 18–22.
PMCID: PMC1724140

Effects of one year of resistance training on the relation between muscular strength and bone density in elderly women

Abstract

Objectives—There is a paucity of long term studies on exercise training in elderly women. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of one year of progressive resistance exercise (PRE) on dynamic muscular strength and the relations to bone mineral density (BMD) in elderly women.

Methods—Forty four healthy sedentary women (mean age 68.8 years) volunteered for this study and were randomly assigned to either an exercise group or a control group. The exercise group were involved in three one hour sessions a week for 52 weeks of supervised PRE to strengthen the large muscle groups of the body, while the control group were instructed to continue their normal lifestyle. The exercise circuit included three sets of eight repetitions at 75% of one repetition maximum focused on the large muscle groups. BMD was measured by dual energy x ray absoptiometry (Lunar DPX) at the lumbar spine and at three sites in the proximal femur. Other selected parameters of physical fitness were also measured.

Results—Statistical analyses (analysis of covariance) showed significant strength gains (p<0.01) in bilateral bench press (>29%), bilateral leg press (>19%), and unilateral biceps curl (>20%). No significant difference between groups was evident in body weight, grip strength, flexibility, waist to hip ratio, or the sum of eight skinfolds. Significant relations (p<0.05) were recorded between dynamic leg strength and the BMD of the femoral neck, Ward's triangle, and the lumbar spine.

Conclusions—Significant strength changes, after one year of PRE, were evident in elderly women, and the muscle increases may parallel changes in BMD; however, correlation coefficients were moderate.

Key Words: strength training; muscular strength; bone density; elderly

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Selected References

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