Background: Bone mineral density (BMD) is a primary risk factor for hip fracture. We studied the effect of long-term weighted vest plus jumping exercise on hip BMD in postmenopausal women as a strategy for reducing hip fracture risk.
Methods: Eighteen postmenopausal women (age = 64.1 +/- 1.6 years at baseline, 69.9 +/- 1.6 years at post-testing) who had participated in a 9-month exercise intervention volunteered for the long-term trial. Nine of the original group engaged in weighted vest plus jumping exercise three times per week for 32 weeks of the year over a period of 5 years. Nine of the original controls were active but not enrolled in the exercise program. BMD of the proximal femur was assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry at baseline and after 5 years.
Results: At baseline, groups were similar for age, weight, height, years past menopause, and BMD of the femoral neck, trochanter, and total hip. At follow-up, differences in BMD at all regions of the hip were higher in exercisers than controls. For exercisers, changes in BMD were + 1.54% +/- 2.37%, -0.24% +/- 1.02%, and -0.82% +/- 1.04% (means + SE) at the femoral neck, trochanter, and total hip, respectively; controls decreased at all sites (-4.43% +/- 0.93%. 3.43% +/- 1.09%, and -3.80% +/- 1.03%, respectively).
Conclusions: A 5-year program of weighted vest plus jumping exercise maintains hip BMD by preventing significant bone loss in older postmenopausal women. Furthermore, this particular program appears to promote long-term adherence and compliance, as evidenced by the commitment of the exercisers for more than 5 years.