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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1998 Jan;53(1):M53-8.

Weighted vest exercise improves indices of fall risk in older women.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah, USA.



Bone mass and fall propensity are two major risk factors for hip fracture. Our intent was to determine if weight-bearing exercises with added resistance from weighted vests would improve dynamic balance, muscle strength and power, and bone mass in postmenopausal women, thereby reducing risk for falls and hip fracture.


Forty-four nonsmoking, community-dwelling, Caucasian women aged 50-75 years participated in the study. All participants were at least 5 years past menopause and most were estrogen-deplete (n = 36). Bone mass and body composition were assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, muscular strength by isokinetic dynamometry, muscular power by modified Wingate Anaerobic Power Test, and indices of postural stability by dynamic posturography. Half of the subjects participated in a 9-month regimen of weight-bearing exercises performed three times a week that emphasized lower-body muscle strength and power development. Resistance was added progressively and individually by the use of a weighted vest. Controls maintained customary diet and activity patterns.


Significant improvements were observed for indices of lateral stability, lower-body muscular strength (16-33% increase), muscular power (13% increase), and leg lean mass (3.5% increase) in exercisers vs controls (p < .05). No significant changes (p > .05) were detected for femoral neck bone mass in exercisers or controls at the conclusion of the trial.


Lower body exercise, using a weighted vest for resistance, provides an effective means of improving key indices of falls in postmenopausal women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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