The aim of this study was to test the effect of unipedal standing exercise on bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip in postmenopausal women. Japanese postmenopausal women (n = 94) were assigned at random to an exercise or control group (no exercise). The 6-month exercise program consisted of standing on a single foot for 1 min per leg 3 times per day. BMD of the hip was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. There was no significant difference in age and baseline hip BMD between the exercise group (n = 49) and control group (n = 45). Exercise did not improve hip BMD compared with the control group. Stepwise regression analysis identified old age as a significant determinant (p = 0.034) of increased hip total BMD at 6 months after exercise. In 31 participants aged >/=70 years, the exercise group (n = 20) showed significant increase in the values of hip BMD at the areas of total (p = 0.008), intertrochanteric (p = 0.023), and Ward's triangle (p = 0.032). The same parameters were decreased in the control group (n = 11). The percent changes in hip BMD of the exercise group were not significantly different from those of the control group either in the participants with low baseline hip total BMD (<80% of the young adult mean) or high baseline hip total BMD (> or =80% of the young adult mean). In conclusion, unipedal standing exercise for 6 months did not improve hip BMD in Japanese postmenopausal women. Effect of exercise on hip total BMD was age dependent. In participants aged > or =70 years, the exercise significantly increased hip total BMD.